Since 1999, Viva! has run a highly successful campaign to highlight the suffering of factory farmed ducks in the UK. Viva! investigators have visited almost all the major producers in Britain, exposing how these essentially wild birds are crammed into industrial sheds in their thousands and are denied all that is natural to them. Almost all duck meat comes from factory-farmed birds. Aquatic animals - they are meant to eat, swim, dive, clean and play in water - and yet they never see it, except in their drinkers.
Viva! has reinvigorated its national campaign to expose how ducks are reared for meat.
Viva! Does it For Ducks!
Pet Rescue presenter, Wendy Turner Webster, highlighted the painful practice of debeaking
The beaks of ducks has a rich supply of nerves and is very sensitive. And yet in factory farms, to stop birds pulling at each other's feathers, the end of their beak was cut off with a hot blade. This process causes extreme pain. Throughout 2000, Viva! vigorously campaigned to end debeaking - and won! We focused our campaign on the six supermarket chains that sold meat from debeaked birds - and one by one they agreed to stop debeaking ducks. In addition, Harrods withdrew all its factory farmed duck meat due to 'Viva!'s well researched campaign'.
Viva! has had meetings with nearly all the major supermarket chains, including Marks & Spencer, the Co-op, Sainsbury's and Asda, to discuss their plans for improving the welfare of ducks raised for meat in the UK.
Viva!’s campaign has scored major media coverage for the Ducks Out of Water
In 2004, Viva! won a major victory when Marks & Spencer announced they would clear their shelves of factory-farmed whole duck after we exposed the conditions at their supplier (a decision they have since gone back on – and one condemned by Viva!). The resulting media blitz – including a full page exposé in the Daily Mail – led to a drop in the number of ducks killed in the UK by two million, as consumers ditched factory farmed duck.
Viva! supporters have taken to the streets in their thousands for Britain’s favourite bird
In 2005, Viva! set its sights on a supposedly ethical supermarket – the Co-op. Once again, Viva! investigators found shocking scenes of suffering and neglect of farms belonging the store’s suppliers. Viva! supporters rallied to the aid of factory farmed ducks, and a major Day of Action saw protests outside nearly 200 stores, where hundreds of thousands of leaflets were handed to shoppers.
2006, saw Viva! force Tesco to change their duck meat packaging, after a successful complaint to Trading Standards, who, along with the Food Standards Agency, agreed that pictures of bulrushes and reeds mislead consumers into believing their ducks led a free-range existence with access to water for swimming (something which couldn’t be further from the truth).
This year also saw the launch of a major new campaign to tackle the previously hidden trade in duck meat: in the restaurant sector. During Chinese New Year, Viva! supporters distributed hundreds of thousands of the ‘Unhappy Duck’ door-dropper leaflets, and prompted an avalanche of requests for Go veggie packs.
2006 also saw the release of the Wildscreen chosen finalist ‘Jake’s Story’, a powerful web film showing the tragic seven week life of one little duckling. November saw Jake take to the streets as part of a national Day of Action for Ducks, with hundreds of Viva! supporters handing 'Free Jake' leaflets to consumers. After successful lobbying by Viva!, Waitrose announced that all their own-label ducks would now have access to outside water for swimming - a move that we will fight to ensure that all other supermarkets follow suit.
The campaign continues. Viva!'s aim to end the factory farming for ducks is more urgent now than it ever has been. In the UK today, 19 million ducks are slaughtered every year - nearly all of them raised in intensive units. Yet most people still do not know that ducks are factory farmed.
Duck farming must be stopped. No one has exposed the horrors of duck farming or slaughter before Viva!'s campaign -and we will continue to do so.