Tony reviews some of the latest media coverage of Viva! and our investigations.
Oxygen of publicity
Getting publicity for our undercover exposés is often a hit and miss affair. No matter how shocking the images, how illegal the practices, it doesn’t guarantee coverage. Often not seen as priority, our stories frequently don’t make it past the chief sub editor or are killed at the last minute. But the Mail Online pulled no punches with the disgusting images of our Face Off investigation with director Juliet Gellatley into ‘colony’ or ‘enriched’ cage hens. So powerful were the headlines that we could have written them ourselves while the extent of the coverage was extraordinary. Shortly after this, we were again in discussion with the Daily Mail about our latest pig investigations and so topical was it that we were feeding images through to the paper directly from one of the farms, the evening before it went to bed. Naturally, we were excited that the public would discover yet more information that would result in many changing their diet. It didn’t appear! No word, no explanation. You have to learn to ride these setbacks and get on with the next thing that will help to save animals.
Hit for six
Yorkshire cricket coach, Jason Gillespie, got right up the nose of the team’s dairy sponsors when he told the Yorkshire Post: “I hope one day the dairy industry can be shut down”. Gillespie is a vegan and former Australian pace bowler. He added: “I think it’s disgusting on so many levels but it’s out of my control, just like the fact that cricket balls are made of leather.” And the dairy industry’s response? You know what it was without me having to write it. “Our milk comes from farms with very high standards of welfare!” Since when has shooting babies been good welfare?
The green rush
Having largely ignored matters veggie and vegan for decades, the media are now in full flood to cover the subject and hooray for that. MSN News chipped in with a huge piece on the 10 myths about milk and utterly trounced the white stuff. We could have written it ourselves (perhaps we did). The Daily Mirror claimed, “A quarter of the nation will be vegetarian within 25 years”. The Daily Mail ran a large piece about Viva! Patron and Place in the Sun presenter, Jasmine Harman. “I don’t eat dairy and my weight has gone down by just eating healthily”, she told them. The Irish Times pulled no punches with “Meat is madness: why it leads to global warming and obesity”. Not to be outdone, The Sun claimed: “Ditch meat say experts who reveal vegetarians live FOUR YEARS longer”. The Metro’s headline was: “Denmark wants to tax meat to help combat climate change”. And just about every title covered the Chinese government’s call for its people to cut their meat consumption by 50 per cent. Not to be outdone, Ecorazzi’s tongue was in its cheek when it said: “Eating vegan can improve your chance of alien contact”. The good old Guardian, as usual, had to spoil the party with a large piece claiming that the rush to vegan is all about feeling morally superior and finished with a wonderful piece of self-justification: “The truth is that an ethically carnivorous life is possible so long as we ensure that animals have lived and died without unnecessary suffering.” Ever been in a slaughterhouse, mate?
Face Off fame
Our Face Off footage of caged hens, with an emotional, onthe- spot presentation by Juliet Gellatley, has been viewed by over a million people on Facebook. Her Huffington Post blog has collected 246,000 likes, also on Facebook.