Last year we asked you for funds to finance our undercover teams' investigation into the lives and deaths of ducks. You provided it and we did it.
Viva! has, for the first time ever, covertly filmed inside a UK duck abattoir.
From the arrival of living, breathing, feeling birds of just seven weeks old to the despatch of amorphous plastic bags filled with dead bodies, we have exposed the impersonal, mechanised killing process of modern Britain, where life is utterly meaningless.
Spearheading the team was our undercover investigator
who secreted a camera in the company overalls to fi lm
everything that happens inside one of Europe's biggest
duck producers. They supply supermarkets such as
Sainsbury's and kill birds for the RSPCA's so-called
Freedom Foods assurance scheme.
In an incredibly brave operation, our investigator had to
be constantly vigilant not to be caught filming, always
needed a prepared excuse to be in certain parts of the
factory, had to be careful not to ask too many questions.
We have now finished viewing and editing the hours of
harrowing footage obtained. It records the entire cycle
of death to which 15 million UK ducks are subjected each
year - from their arrival in crates to their despatch in
The footage starts with the crates of ducks, one piled on
top of another, being ferried by fork-lift truck to the start
of a noisy, clanking, impersonal, mechanical production
line of death where people shout to be heard. The birds
are subdued and appear confused as this is the fi rst
time that many of them have seen daylight or felt fresh
air. Until now, most of the birds have had their lives
circumscribed by the four walls of a stinking shed.
The panic begins as they are grabbed from the crates and their legs are slammed into the dangling shackles of
a constantly moving conveyor with not a space between
The people doing the shackling look like aliens -
cloaked from head to toe, their faces hidden by breathing
equipment and goggles.
The distressed noise of the
ducks' quacking now swells to a crescendo and almost
drowns out the sound of the machinery.
The conveyor moves relentlessly along, the ducks flapping
and calling out in fear while a human voice can be heard
shouting to the aliens: "Faster, faster!" The aliens increase
their speed, grabbing more birds from the crates and
slamming them into the shackles, one after another like
automatons. This is what they do all day long every day.
In their rush to keep up production, several birds are
dropped on the floor and they run to cower against the
impersonal metal of the machinery. They look utterly
bewildered and huddle together. Their reprieve is short
lived as, without a second thought, the aliens grab them
and thrust them into the shackles. One of the men pauses
before doing so, thrusting the duck towards the face of
our investigator, directly at the hidden camera. This is
what passes for humour in the death factory.
The line of ducks and their filthy breast feathers clanks
up and away into the depths of the building, the birds
flapping and calling out until they disappear behind a
When they emerge the other side they are silent
and still, water dripping from their beaks. They have been
electrocuted in a charged water bath.
A worker awaits
by a blood-soaked trough with a small, sharp knife in his
hand and assiduously cuts the throat of every passing
Clank, clank, clank - the conveyor continues, dipping
the little bodies into scalding water before they enter
an enclosed box where rotating rubber fingers flail the
feathers from them. They emerge pathetic looking and
Clank, clank, clank - the bodies enter a piece of machinery
which someone proudly designed for this specific
purpose; it holds the bird's body still while stretching the
neck to a point where the head is torn off.
The eviscerator also relies on technology - a pneumatic
wand. He sucks out the intestines with it and then
reverses the procedure, spitting them into a bin. Suck,
spit; suck, spit all day long.
The sequel to this relentless nightmare is an end product
devoid of all that went before. A taut plastic bag morphing
body, wings and legs into an unidentifi able ball of flesh.
A union jack and a Freedom Foods symbol try to imbue
it with a ridiculous sense of pride and printed words
turn factory farming into poetry: "Willow Farm ducks live
in spacious straw bedded barns where they are free to
roam". Free to roam from one wall to another!
This then is duck slaughter in Britain today. We want
people to know about it. We have edited together a short
film on which patron and actor Martin Shaw will do the
voice over. A sympathetic ad agency is making an ad
free of charge, again with Martin doing the voiceover. We
want it aired.
We need both to cover the country through
social networking sites and we hope our supporters will
email everyone in their address book! We need to target
potential duck eaters with Viva! literature and we have
to keep up our pressure on the UK media to ensure that
consumers see past the words on the packaging.
Please again support our campaign - a campaign which
has been spectacularly successful so far, with duck
deaths crashing from 22 million to 15 million a year. Please
give what you can so we can continue to expose the
barbarity of modern duck 'farming' and continue with our
determination to show what life - and death - is like for
these beautiful, essentially wild animals.
Viva! Will never stop fighting cruelty to these animals.
FARMING - IT'S GOTTA GO.
Please help us.
Founder & Director