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About Us

The Happy Orca is an online gift shop based in Brighton, UK. It was founded in 2013 by me, Nova Cookson. The shop sells a range of items including mugs, side plates, posters, notepad and pencil set and kids t-shirts. Each item focuses on various animal welfare issues and 10% of all profits are donated to a selection of animal charities as seen in my Charities section on the homepage.



Alongside The Happy Orca, I also created and continue to run the NotTested website. It's a consumer resource that collects information on animal testing policies for a large list of cosmetic, toiletry and household brands. NotTested strives to help shoppers make informed choices about ethical products.



I Love My…

The “I Love My…” range includes four designs which is used on mugs and side plates. They are currently produced in the UK. The four designs incorporate the artwork of my husband, Richard Cookson.

Why Fins?

Sharks are rarely seen as the cutest of animals, but they are remarkably graceful and efficient creatures. Sadly, many shark species are in serious decline due to the demand for shark fin soup, which remains a traditional dish in several countries. Sharks that are hunted and caught for this purpose suffer terribly as many are thrown back into the ocean still alive after their fins have been cut off. The Happy Orca does not believe that animals should be hurt for this unnecessary product.

Why Fur?

Although campaigns against fur products have been high profile in the past, ‘fashion fur’ is still very much a mainstream business – used in fur coats, footwear lining, many accessories and coat collars. Often, fur farming lacks even basic animal welfare standards and the animals endure unspeakable cruelty and psychological stress. The Happy Orca does not believe that fashion should ever be based on the cruelty and suffering of sentient animals.

Why Freedom?

Orcas are amazing animals to watch. Sadly, seeing them in captivity feeds what is a cruel practice. They are highly intelligent animals and do not fare well in captivity. Their life spans are often drastically reduced and they suffer psychological and physiological stress due to the tiny size of their tanks. Orcas are also apex predators who thrive on hunting prey – whilst marine parks try to counteract this with enrichment strategies, The Happy Orca believes that nothing compares to living in a natural ocean habitat for these animals.

Why Tusks?

Elephants are majestic, highly intelligent and fascinating animals. Yet there are many threats facing them, including human / wildlife conflicts, environmental change and widespread deforestation. Worse still, poaching remains a very real threat to both African and Asian Elephants. Sadly, the ivory trade still contributes to a considerable decline in their population. Like fur, The Happy Orca believes that ivory is an unnecessary, luxury item which cannot justify the barbaric slaughter of such beautiful creatures.


The Happy Orca’s Animal Alphabet

The Happy Orca’s Animal Alphabet is a collection of 26 lovable animals that represent each letter of the alphabet. Each animal was originally hand drawn by fine artist - (and my mum!) Una Curthoys. The Animal Alphabet is not only an educational tool for young kids learning their A-Z but it also contains a design which may appeal to any animal enthusiast, regardless of age. 

The Animal Alphabet appears on t-shirts, posters and stationary. All products are produced in the UK.  


Please note: All items are lovingly hand produced and there may be individual variation, but we think this adds to their charm. The ceramic items are made using two different printing processes, therefore there is a slight colour difference between the mugs and plates.