Viva! has already scored some major victories! In the past five years Viva! has printed and - working with local activists - distributed almost half a million anti foie-gras leaflets across the UK!
Viva!’s campaign will make a difference to millions of birds currently suffering the torture of forced feeding
In 2004, Viva!USA was instrumental in getting a bill passed that banned the force feeding of ducks and geese in the production of foie-gras in California. The bill also bans the sale of the product when made from force fed birds, both provisions took effect in 2012.
Just before Christmas 2006, Viva! persuaded supermarket chain Lidl to stop selling foie-gras in all its stores in the UK. In 2007, Viva! was alarmed to hear that the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation was planning to serve foie-gras at its annual gala dinner. The horrible irony (foie-gras is diseased liver) didn’t escape us, and it didn’t escape the charity once we pointed it out to them. The result, foie-gras was dropped from the menu! Campaigning by Viva! and other organisations has now seen wholesaler Makro, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols all drop this cruel product. UK outlets are now falling like dominos.
Our targeted local campaigning has already seen many newspapers covering the issue, and has been instrumental in getting restaurants to end the sale of foie-gras - including making Petersfield a foie-gras free zone! This important campaign has attracted national, international and local media (which includes The People, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph and The Evening Standard) - which is important in educating the public to not buy it.
Targeted media campaigning aims to make foie-gras socially unacceptable in the UK
Christmas 2007 saw Viva! hold one of our national Day of Actions. Hundreds of people took part, with many thousands of postcards sent and there were peaceful protests outside of restaurants and establishments selling this delicacy of despair right across the country. Positive feedback showed that many bowed to consumer pressure and have taken foie-gras off the shelves - for good! Those that haven't are finding that ethical consumers are avoiding them like the plague - and thanks to Viva! supporters there's more ethical consumers out there than ever before.
Our giant duck mascot Jake (fighting for bird justice everywhere!) took to the streets and made flying protests to places selling foie-gras in Exeter (Michael Caines), Manchester (Selfridges), London (Fortnum & Mason - which dropped duck foie-gras soon after!), as well as petitioning the people of Bath to drop foie-gras. Jake was also present in Bristol when we launched our campaign to persuade the council to follow the leads of York and Bolton by going foie-gras free (find out how you can persuade your council here). The campaign also attracted the celebrity support of West End star
In 2008, our campaign garnered even more support from unlikely bedfellows Prince Charles and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who were united in their opposition to foie-gras and support for the foie-gras birds! Prince Charles' support made headlines around the world. Viva! patron Wendy-Turner Webster - and her actor husband Gary Webster - also hit the headlines as Wendy petitioned her home council to ban foie-gras. The result was that many places in Staffordshire couldn't get it off the menu quick enough!
In 2009, Selfridges in London finally took foie-gras off the shelves after a long-running campaign by Viva! and other animal organisations. Also, 'Torture in a tin' came off the political menu in Scotland after assurances were made that guests of the First Minister, Alex Salmond, would no longer be served foie-gras. This move comes after Viva!'s exposé with The Sunday Times, and follows pressure from Viva! supporters who wrote to the First Minister. A great success and a strike against the endemic cruelty of foie-gras.
In 2011, Thomson Cruises agreed to take foie-gras off the menu after we sent them infomation on the cruelty involved in its production. Bath council also banned foie-gras from their properties after a campaign by local group Bath Animal Action, which was supported by Viva!. In 2012, Viva! launched an on-going campaign to persuade the BBC to dump foie-gras from its cookery shows.
We also produced a hard hitting new on-line film The Wonderful World of Gavage, which demolishes the lies and mistruths perpetuated by the industry. So far, Viva! has printed around half a million of our foie-gras leaflets, which have been distributed right across the UK by local activists!
The fight for a foie-gras free Britain goes on. We must continue to produce leaflets and cards for people to show their disgust to hand into local eateries and shops, and it is essential we reach every media outlet to expose this trade for exactly what it is – animal abuse disguised as culture.