Sir Robert Vaughan GowerKCVO OBE FRGS MP (10 November 1880 – 6 March 1953) was a British solicitor and Conservative Party politician from Kent. He sat in the House of Commons from 1924 to 1945. He was most remembered for his work on behalf of animals; he served as chairman of the RSPCA for 23 years before being elected president.
He was the son of Joshua Robert Gower of Tunbridge Wells, and his wife Kate, daughter of John Fagge of Tonbridge. He was admitted a solicitor in 1904. He was educated privately, and in 1903 obtained honours in the final examination of the Law Society. His younger daughter, Pauline Gower, headed the female branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.
Mayor of Tunbridge Wells in 1918-1919, it was announced in the 1919 Birthday Honours that he was to be knighted for support he had given to a scheme for preserving businesses in the absence of those serving in World War I, The title was conferred in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 18 August 1919. He had previously been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1919 New Year Honours. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
He was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hackney Central at the 1924 general election, a seat which had been held by the Liberal Party since 1906. He did not contest Hackney Central at the 1929 general election, when he was elected as the MP for Gillingham in Kent.
He held the seat until he retired from the Commons at the 1945 general election.
Animal rights activism
Gower's career was most noted for his service on behalf of animals. From 1929 until his retirement in 1945, he served as chairman of the Animal Welfare Committee in Parliament. He introduced several measures and laws to protect animals, including the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act of 1933, the Protection of Animals Act of 1934, the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act of 1937, and the Dogs Act of 1938.
Gower served as chairman of the RSPCA for 23 years, and in 1951 was elected president of the organisation. He was also a founding member and president of the Pit Ponies Protection Society, and was chairman and honorary treasurer of the National Canine Defence League.