It’s upsetting reading about animal cruelty. But remember you’re not on your own. Millions of people in the UK are vegetarian or vegan – a true commitment to saving animals. And you can do something about it too! Here’s some simple ideas to get you started.
The most powerful step you can immediately take to end animals’ suffering is to stop eating them. The average Brit eats 11,000 animals in their lifetime – most are factory farmed and all are slaughtered – usually as babies. None of us want to die. Take yourself out of the killing cycle and send to Viva! for a free Go Veggie or free Go Vegan pack. Go to www.viva.org.uk or call 0117 944 1000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) or write to Viva! with your name, address and request to 8 York Ct, Wilder St, Bristol BS2 8QH.
Tip: For zillions (well lots) of vegan recipes see www.viva .org.uk/recipes andwww.vegetarian.org.uk . Also both these sites have web shops with lots of cookery books, or call Viva! for our latest book catalogue.
Don't underestimate the power of the pen! Local newspaper letters’ pages are read by tens of thousands and letters from Viva! supporters always generate a good response. Viva! provides sample letters to help you and our leaflets and guides are also a good source of information.
Example: Viva! supporters wrote to their local papers about Marks & Spencer selling factory farmed duck meat – hundreds of letters were published and it helped persuade M&S to withdraw whole factory farmed birds.
Send off Viva!'s campaign postcards and get your family, friends and others to do the same! Sending off a postcard is something that everyone can do and it's quick and easy and best of all has a real impact on those receiving them! You can order more from our website or by using our Campaign Materials Order Form (order on 0117 944 1000, Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm).
Example: Tens of thousands of Viva! postcards were sent to Tesco asking them to withdraw all kangaroo meat. They did!
Collect signatures from everyone you know – have some leaflets to give out as well as this is a great way of talking about our work.
Example: Hundreds of thousands of signatures were handed into the Polish government by Viva!, asking them to stop allowing the export of live horses for meat. It did not stop but there was massive publicity and numbers were reduced from 80,000 a year to 30,000.
Setting up a stall on your high street is a brilliant way to attract new support and talk to the public about campaigns. You can focus on a specific campaign, eg the factory farming of ducks or cover a whole range of issues. Using Viva!'s eye-catching posters and campaigns materials it's easy to attract people's attention and many people will come to talk to you, sign petitions and find out more. Stalls can also be set up at fetes, fairs and other gatherings.
Example: During Viva!’s Britain Goes Veggie Month (held each September), Go Veggie! stalls are held all over the UK. In 2008 more than 100,000 leaflets were given out and Viva! received thousands of requests for free packs. One stall holder said: “It was such a positive day – people could not get enough of your recipe leaflets and the It’s Time to Go Veggie magazines… leaflets went out like hot cakes!” Join in – Viva! provides display materials free.
Library displays are a very effective way of educating the public. Why not call your local library and talk to them about booking some space for a display? It's good to 'theme' your display – it could be on vegetarianism or on a specific Viva! campaign. We can supply posters and leaflets. If you're feeling creative, you can add to the display by eg using your own photographs or pictures (or pictures from children), word processing information or signs and pinning up eye-catching magazine articles/newspaper cuttings.
Example: A Viva! youth supporter held a display “Why Veggie” for three weeks – the library said it was such a success they invited her back.
Street collections are a great way of raising money for Viva! and raising awareness about animal abuse. You need to be 18 or
over and to apply for a permit from your local council – find out which days are available and be prepared to wait for up to 12 months for a free date! Once you have set the date, please contact Viva!'s fundraising department for advice on organising the day. We will advertise your collection date in Viva!LIFE and ask other supporters to help you.
Example: Street collections with the theme ‘End factory farming: before it ends us’ were held all over the UK and raised almost £15,000 for this campaign. A good collection raises hundreds of pounds and takes only a handful of people – meaning thousands of pounds raised each year to help Viva! campaign against cruelty.
Protests and media photocalls
When Viva! launches a campaign we often co-ordinate nationwide actions where our contacts organise peaceful protests or coordinated distribution of info and media photocalls outside high street shops, supermarkets and other venues. We can provide all the resources you need for a successful action, eg sample press releases, banners, leaflets and animal masks. If we're co-ordinating actions across the country, we'll often provide you with a pre-written press release if you want. All you need to do is cajole a few people into turning up on the day!
Example: We have held many actions like this – and they have resulted in many successes – from ending the sale of ostrich and kangaroo meat in all supermarkets; to stopping all supermarkets debeaking ducks; to reducing the numbers of ducks killed in the UK by two million; to raising awareness of the farrowing crate that imprisons mother pigs.
Be a door dropper
This means distributing suitable leaflets to people’s houses through their letterbox.
Example: During foot and mouth almost one million leaflets were distributed – resulting in a huge response for free Go Veggie packs!
Remember, there may already be someone active in your area who'd be grateful for your help – check out our Contacts List. (See www.viva.org.uk/get active or call 0117 944 1000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) for a list.
If you'd like to become a Viva! campaigner or door dropper, get in contact – we can provide all the help and advice you'll need!
Again, you can find more information on how to get active on our website – www.viva.org.uk – go to the Get Active section. There you'll find info on: • Being an E-Campaigner • Being a ‘Door Dropper’ • Being a Campaigner • Being a Contact.
Plus our online resources: Top tips for running a Viva! stall
• Contacting Your Local Media • Writing a Media Release
• Viva! Contact List. Or call our campaigns team on 0117 944 1000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm).
Join Viva! Very important – each and every supporter helps us campaign to save animals. You'll be kept up to date with our campaigns, receive our magazine, Viva!LIFE three times a year and you'll be helping us campaign for a saner, kinder world.
Send £15 (payable to Viva!) with your name and address to Viva! (see below). Or join by phone or online (again, please see below).