2014: Viva! Review
by Juliet Gellatley, Viva!'s founder and director
It’s the start of a new year and we’re all plumped with compassionate goodness from the festive season. It’s a perfect time for reflection and recommitting, so we thought we’d share some of the amazing achievements of last year and some of our plans for the coming one too. And, of course, none of it could have happened without your generous support – so here’s to you!
Dairy Day of Action
We held a dairy National Day of Action for Mother’s Day to highlight the suffering of cows and their calves with events happening across Britain. We printed 100,000 new door-dropper leaflets showing how dairy cows are Britain’s Hardest Working Mother – and encouraged people to go vegan to help her. We send materials and resources out to thousands of people a year.
Viva! report shows the Dark Side of Dairy
Viva! also launched a report on the appalling cruelty caused by the dairy industry on cows and their calves. The Dark Side of Dairy report exposes modern dairy farming, shatters its picturesque image and exposing the immeasurable mental and physical suffering inflicted on millions of cows and their calves each year. Fully referenced and full colour, the report is an easily digestible and informative overview of Britain’s dairy farming industry. A wake-up call for everyone who opposes animal cruelty yet continues to buy and consume dairy products. www.vivashop.org.uk/viva/viva-materials/viva-guides-reports/dark-side-dairy
Viva!'s groundbreaking White Lies report updated
Viva!'s health arm, Viva!Health launched a major report, White Lies. This fully revised and definitive work on the impact of dairy on our health combines the findings of over 400 scientific papers from reputable peer-reviewed journals such as the British Medical Journal and the Lancet. The research is clear – the consumption of cow’s milk and dairy products is linked to the development of teenage acne, allergies, arthritis, some cancers, colic, constipation, coronary heart disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, dementia, ear infection, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney disease, migraine, autoimmune conditions, including multiple sclerosis, overweight, obesity and osteoporosis. Read the evidence for yourself! www.vivashop.org.uk/books/white-lies-report
Gordon Ramsay last year, Heston Blumenthal this year! Top chefs and restaurateurs are being taken to task by foie-gras exposés, and we’re jumping on the campaigns with everything we have.
You might have received our recent appeal on foie-gras, where we’re asking supporters to get involved and voice their objection to Heston Blumenthal and ask him to remove foie-gras from sale permanently in his restaurants. We’re also asking our supporters to campaign against any local restaurants selling this torture in a tin, or door drop our leaflets to let the public know about how despicable the practice really is! Find out more information by heading to www.viva.org.uk/tell-heston-blumenthal-dump-all-foie-gras.
As you know, last year marked our 20th of running life-saving campaigns, helping people go and stay vegan and championing the cause! We really went all out and tried our hardest.
The Viva! Team – including me and my sons! – ran a 20 mile relay (Ash running the whole course!) to celebrate 20 years. And we did it in animal onesies! We raised over £4,400, which is a fantastic result. Everything we’ve raised will go directly to campaigning for the animals – thank you if you helped. You can see pictures of us in our onesies by heading to www.viva.org.uk/vivarun.
We also held a very special fundraising dinner, sailing down the Thames in style to celebrate our 20 year history. There were plenty of special guests and patrons, and more supporters than we’ve ever had before! It was truly a lovely way to reflect on the past.
For a full overview of our 20th Anniversary, head to our Anniversary webpages at www.viva.org.uk/anniversary.
Fight for Life - 20th Anniversary film
We wanted to share a brief glimpse of the last 20 years with all our supporters, so we produced the Fight for Life 20th Anniversary film. You can view it below or at: www.viva.org.uk/20thanniversaryfilm.
It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come, how many campaigns we’ve run, and – of course! – all the brilliant and dedicated supporters who have made everything possible. If you’ve campaigned with us over the years you might just spot yourself!
We know more than anyone that we couldn’t have made any of the progress or achievements that we have without all of our supporters and everybody that has helped us campaign over the years. That’s why we gave out some very special Awards to show our appreciation!
For a list of categories and winners, head to www.viva.org.uk/awards/winners.
Bristol Christmas Vegan Roadshow
Christmas is always the perfect time to fight for the animals. Compassion and goodwill are the messages of the season, so we like to take it to the public to make sure it extends to animals as well! With that thinking, we held a free Christmas Roadshow in our home base of Bristol. It was one of our most successful yet, with over 1,500 people coming through the doors to do some ethical shopping, taste the vegan delights on offer and watch our talks and demos on all the issues! We also held another very successful Roadshow in Gloucester in 2014 (also free entry to all), as well as attending many other events across Britain. We will be announcing out Roadshows for 2015 very soon (we have held over 30 to date!).
All meat sales were down over for Christmas 2014 - most 'hit' in the slump were turkey sales. This continues the long-term decline in meat consumption in Britain. The latest figures show that Britain ate 140,000 tonnes less meat than in 2005. The population has increased by 3.5 million in that time, so the reduction actually much greater. Viva! has been spearheading this decline - and long may it continue! We have helped thousands of people change their eating habits through our free events and vegan education. Every year we fight for turkeys and this year our cruelty-free Christmas pages got a sparkly new update.
Life is Cheep? Investigation
A new investigation into the miserable lives of chickens – and what we saw was beyond miserable, it was barbaric. We went inside sheds crammed with chickens bred for meat, a veritable carpet of exploited lives. Over 945 million chickens are killed in the UK for meat each year – the number is staggering and incomprehensible. That’s why we’ve called the campaign Life is Cheep?, because it really can’t be called anything else on this scale.
If you haven’t seen it already, you can view the full investigation, including footage, by heading to www.viva.org.uk/lifeischeep.
Nando's Day of Action
For the launch of our new Life is Cheep? campaign, we held a Day of Action against Nando’s, one of the biggest chicken selling restaurants in the UK. We asked the public to make compassionate menu choices and keep it animal-free. Hundreds of supporters took part and we thank every one of them – chickens deserve just as much compassion as any other animal!
We also produced a little fact table of the nutritional content of some of chicken selling chains against plant-based alternatives – the results are not new information but make for a stark contrast! You can have a look at www.viva.org.uk/what-we-do/life-cheep/nandonts-and-nandos-what-are-you-eating.
30 Day Vegan
The 30 Day Vegan scheme is rounding out its first full year of running, and it’s been quite a ride (with over 3,000 people signing up to date). We’ve helped thousands of people go vegan for 30 days, and a great many of them stick to it too. This year, we’ll be updating and tweaking and making the scheme even more helpful and informative than it was before! So if you know anybody who wants to give it a go, just send them to www.viva.org.uk/30dayvegan.
New guides published
One of the competitions we ran for our 20th year was The V Factor! Aimed at spreading the veggie message through song and (optionally!) dance, we wanted to run a competition that was good fun and had a positive vibe. We asked supporters to do a cover of a popular song with veggie/vegan lyrics and make a video to accompany it. It was so much fun and we loved all the entries! In the end we picked two very special winners. Have a watch of their videos at www.viva.org.uk/videoentry.
Goat Investigation Update
You may remember in 2012 we launched our Nanny State campaign, with an investigation into two intensive goat milk farms. On one of the farms we filmed the illegal disbudding of baby goats (burning their horns out) without anaesthetic and castration without anaesthetic. We duly handed over our findings to the local authorities who said they would look into it and prosecute if anything wrongdoing was found (!).
Well, after two years of waiting and being strung along by those authorities, we finally put in a Freedom of Information request to get the answers. The council eventually admitted there had been no prosecution for animal cruelty despite the evidence, and those filmed were let off with a caution (itself proof of wrongdoing!) but they won’t tell us the reasoning for this partly because of ‘commercial sensitivities’. That is to say, the needs of the industry outweighed the need to uphold animal cruelty laws. How disappointing!
We’ll continue to expose cruelty and campaign against goat farming as ever. Find out more by heading to www.whitelies.org.uk/nannystate.
New Viva! exhibition: changing hearts and changing minds
Supporting our 30 Day Vegan programme, a brand new Viva! exhibition of pull-up banners highlighting the benefits of going vegan debuted at London Vegfest 2014 and will be continuing at future Vegfests and Viva! events throughout 2015 and beyond. Especially thought-provoking was our 'Are you a baby eater?' exhibit - which showed just how young animals are when they are killed by the meat, dairy and egg industry. The banners were so popular that we turned three of them into posters that can be bought from our online shop (also Eat Yourself Healthy and Little Victims (highlighting the killing of male chicks by the egg industry)).
I am spectacularly proud of this cookbook – it really is fully inclusive, inventive and inspiring. Jane Easton, our food and cookery coordinator, and all the other people involved really pulled it out the bag. If you haven’t got yourself a copy, we thoroughly recommend it! Order yours today by heading to www.vivashop.org.uk/vivacookbook.
At last – the animals are fighting back in this intriguing and utterly gripping novel by Viva!’s Associate Director Tony Wardle (which was published at the end of 2014). But only one person is aware of it and she is married to the prime minister designate. Jo Aldous’s search for answers threatens the Party – she has to be crushed. Love, betrayal, political corruption, misogyny, friendship and a woman’s journey of discovery weave their way through this page-turner. Jo refuses to be defeated until she finds the driving force behind her discovery. And what a discovery! Order your copy now! Only £8.99 (Plus P&P): www.vivashop.org.uk/pod.
New look websites!
Our websites have had a major overhaul and are now looking super swish and are packed with vital information on the best ways to save animals, improve your health and where to buy the very best vegan products (including from our own dedicated online shop). We are working hard throughout 2015 to bring everything into one easy-to-find place and make the websites even better for you - and an even better tool for the animals.
Not to exclude anybody shy of standing in front of the camera, we also ran a photo competition for the people standing behind them too! We asked budding photographers to help us in our work – so much of our success has involved connecting people to the animals we want to save, and there’s no better way to do that than through imagery. There were some absolutely cracking pictures, and we all had a good ‘awww’ or ‘wow!’ at the entries.
The winners will be showcases in our Spring Viva!life magazine.
Phew! That was a lot to talk about – and not nearly everything that happened last year! Thank you for all your wonderful help and support to make it all happen – and we look forward to more to come. As always, we’re here all year round to field any questions you have or help you with anything we can – just get in touch!
Yours for the animals
Viva! founder & director
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