The TV presenter-comedian formerly known as Bill Oddie revealed on the morning of 1st April that he had changed his name to William Free-Range-Oddie. While legally, this isn't strictly true, Bill's motivation for taking part in the April Fool's Day stunt comes straight from the heart. Here he explains what moved him to do it.
"Well, the daft reason I gave for the name change is that I have always been a little bit jealous of Tim Brooke-Taylor's o-so distinguished, double-barrelled surname, and I thought I would go one better and become triple-barrelled!
"The serious reason, however, was that I have been championing the Cows Belong in Fields campaign, which, as Compassion's lovely supporters will know, was set up to stop Nocton Dairies Ltd from building a monstrous, mega-dairy in Lincolnshire; a development that would have consigned as many as 8,100 cows to a life indoors without proper access to pasture. Wondrously, the campaign was recently instrumental in stopping the mega-farm in its tracks.
"After the euphoria died down I realised that factory-farmed cows are only part of the intensive farming problem, and I wanted to do something to emphasise that something as fundamental as being reared 'free-range' should be every farmed animal's birthright.
"The team at Compassion dared me to change my name, and as April was fast approaching the April Fool's Day stunt was born.
"I am sure Compassion's supporters will forgive my cheekiness in spinning them this yarn. The opportunity to promote the cause of farm animal welfare was too good to miss."
You don't have to go so far as changing your name to help farm animals. Compassion relies entirely on the generosity of its supporters to do its work. If you would like to help farm animals have a life worth living, take the far easier step of making a donation today.