2016: Viva! Review
by Juliet Gellatley, Viva!'s founder and director
It’s the start of another year, but before we get going with all the amazing plans we have for 2017 let’s look at just some of what we achieved together for animals in 2016!
Face Off was launched!
2016 saw the launch of our most innovative campaign yet to show the British public exactly what goes on inside Britain’s factory farms by taking footage directly to them on portable screens. I filmed at a so-called enriched cage facility for egg laying hens, along with Justin Kerswell. Our shocking exposé – showing that the cage has not gone away – was seen by millions in the Daily Mail newspaper.
I also filmed inside typical pig farms (in Wiltshire and Norfolk) and showed the suffering found there. Our investigations were featured in The Observer. At both farms I made special connections with two sows – that I named Blue and Rose. Both were incarcerated in metal crates so small they couldn’t even turnaround. I vowed to take their stories to as many people as possible. These were very harrowing exposes and I could not have done them without the help of investigators and Justin Kerswell. It has had a massive response with thousands vowing to go vegan.
Face Off hits the road
And I followed through on my promise as we took Face Off to the streets and festivals of Britain throughout 2016. Thousands of people have taken the Face Off challenge and many of them have vowed to change. You can see some of their reactions here.
Face Off hits social media
Facebook and other social media sites continue to grow as amazing tools to reach people with the truth about where their food really comes from. Our reach on Facebook alone has increased by nearly 50 per cent – and twice as many people have visited our main Viva! website this year compared to last. The response to Face Off has been phenomenal. Over a million people have watched – and the numbers are growing daily.
Everyone’s Going Vegan is launched!
We know the number one way to end the suffering of animals is to stop eating them – and we launched a new magazine to help people do just that! EGV is a fantastic publication that is spearheading our vegan campaign to change Britain’s eating habits and change the world! We have given away thousands of copies at events throughout the year and you can get your own copy here.
SWINE – The Movie
We worked with talented filmmakers Robbie Lockie and Damien Clarkson to make a hard-hitting docudrama about the imminent threat of antibiotic overuse in farmed animals and how it could prove disastrous for humans. Featuring vegan free runner Tim Shieff, SWINE has been extremely popular on social media and has been seen at festivals and exhibitions across the UK. You can watch this Viva! film here.
We also released another short movie called ANIMAL TALES by director Brigitta Szaszfai, which asked viewers to think about their relationship with farmed animals in creative and challenging ways, and which again was shared across social media.
Undercover for animals
Throughout 2016 we exposed the dark underbelly of Britain’s factory farms. We released a series of shocking undercover exposés. This included terrible scenes at a turkey farm with connections to a company with celebrity chef endorsements. The story was featured in The Independent. On the run-up to Christmas we printed and distributed 50,000 new turkey door-droppers encouraging people to eat kind and go vegan.
In addition to our Face Off campaign, we also released footage from other UK pig farms that showed that the idea that Britain has the highest animal welfare in the world is a myth. Hundreds of thousands of people watched across social media.
New pig report
We launched PIG FARMING: THE INSIDE STORY, our updated report by myself into the British pig industry after a 12 month long investigation by investigators, Justin Kerswell and myself. It details the shocking conditions most pigs in this country endure and forms the bedrock of our Face Off campaign. We sent relevant journalists copies and you can read the report for free.
Cracked: egg campaign relaunches
This year, we relaunched our Cracked campaign with yet more new undercover footage. We made the front page of The Independent, when we exposed horrific conditions at hens on so-called ‘enriched cage’ farms. We also revealed that free-range is hardly any better, with appalling scenes at a farm near Spalding that was featured in the Metro.
Viva! also worked with ITV Wales on an exposé of egg farming in the country. The documentary featured Viva! footage and an interview with myself on how the egg industry is inherently cruel.
The Cracked campaign got a brand new website – and upcoming report by Claire Palmer. We also produced new materials for door-dropping and stalls – one of which showed people crammed into tube trains to highlight the fact that around half of Britain’s hens are still caged. We promoted the campaign with an eye-catching stunt on the London tube, where we wore hen masks and showed our new Cracked film to passengers.
The Incredible Vegan Health Report published
Viva!Health released this trailblazing, fascinating one of a kind publication by Veronika Powell, based on the latest scientific research exploring why vegan diets are the best for your health. The pioneering report explains why a vegan diet is so beneficial to our health and how it improves or prevents many health conditions including asthma, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, digestive disorders, kidney problems and how it helps protect our mental health. The report also explains what a good vegan diet means and looks into the general health of people eating different types of diet from across the world to paint an accurate picture of vegan health. Read online or buy a copy and check out the new web pages.
Cooking with kindness
Viva!’s resident food-whizzs – Jane Easton and Maryanne Hall – continued taking the Vegan Recipe Club from strength-to-strength. With a relaunched newsletter, hundreds of new recipes and dozens of cookery demos at shows across the UK. Plus a truly scrumptious new Christmas recipe guide!
Food Ignorance Survey
We commissioned a survey of 2,000 Brits to see exactly how much they really knew about what happens to farmed animals. Although most thought they were well informed the results spoke otherwise – with over 60 per cent not knowing that cows have to be made pregnant to give milk. That’s just one example. The survey was picked up by both national and local media. Find out more.
Getting active with Viva!Health
This year, Viva!Health started a Government petition to get processed and red meat to carry a health warning label – as well as producing new stickers “Warning processed meat causes bowel cancer”. In time for April Fool’s day, we created a spoof page and a couple of ads warning people against feeding processed meat to their children, based on WHO recommendations. We also added a new Men’s Health section to the Viva! Health website and investigated health claims behind honey.
Viva!Health printed an updated version of our popular ‘Grot Milk’ leaflet – which details all the health reasons why it’s not the right stuff. Viva! also published a new version of ‘The Dark Side of Dairy’ leaflet – which convincingly puts the other half of the argument and shows how animals farmed for their milk suffer.
On the new look White Lies campaign page, we hosted an online premiere of The Herd - the award-winning short film putting a different spin on dairy farming.
We launched an online protest action against animal transports – Stop the Baby Trade - as part of international initiative Animals Are Not Freight. Also, one of the many planning objection actions we undertook to fight the spread of factory farming in the UK was against plans for a zero-grazing dairy farm near Chichester.
The Show is on the road!
Vegan events are becoming ever more popular – and Viva! continues to be at the forefront of the vegan revolution! In 2016, we attended about 70 Festivals and partnered with existing events, such as The Northern Vegan Festival (Manchester) and Winterfest Leeds, and ran successful events in Brighton, Liverpool and Bristol. Testament at how popular these events now are is that attendance is often triple what it was even a few years ago! The likelihood is that we will be coming to a town/city near you in 2017. We could not have attended so many events without the help of our wonderful volunteers. See how you can join in.
Viva! in words
The growing number of vegan publications in the UK has seen an ever increasing number of contributions from Viva! – especially our resident health experts at Viva!Health. This includes Cook Vegan, Barefoot Vegan, Vegan Food & Living and Best Fit magazine.
I also contributed to The Huffington several times – including the piece: Eating Meat Is Not Cool - But the Moves We Are Making Toward Plant-Based Living Are Certainly Hotting Up.
Dr Greger will see you now!
Dr Michael Greger’s How Not To Die speaking tour (London, Bristol, Birmingham) was organised by Viva! and CNM. It was incredibly successful with all venues sold out. You can watch one of his talks here.
Myself and other Viva! staff – particularly Justin Kerswell, Tony Wardle and Veronika Powell have given dozens of talks across the UK at festivals, health events and more – reaching and educating thousands of people. And our Cookery experts, Jane Easton and Maryanne Hall, have given cookery demos across the UK.
Tony Wardle continued to edit our popular supporter’s magazine, Viva!Life which has gone from strength to strength and increased to 56 pages. It is a colourful publication, covering Viva!’s campaigns, events, news, vegan products, interviews with celebs and other cool dudes; and innovative vegan cookery and is sent triannually to supporters.
Viva! Veganista is go!
We launched our fantastic weekly vegan cookery competition where people can submit their favourite recipes for prizes – and a chance to be the ultimate Viva! Veganista. It also a great resource for new vegans, who can follow Hannah on her journey on making the switch from going vegetarian with tips, advice and all round fabulousness!
Art for the animals
Viva! staff member, Philip McCulloch-Downs, is also a talented artist. Throughout 2016 he created a hard-hitting series of canvasses creating a unique viewpoint of the lives of farmed animals in Britain today. All with the intention of getting people to re-examine their role in their suffering. View his amazing series on pigs – inspired by Viva!’s undercover work – here.
Viva! on the airwaves
Viva! Radio is the brand new podcast that takes you into the heart of Viva! – with interviews with staff (including myself!) and celebrities. Also, the very latest vegan news, reviews and more and coordinated by Kris Townsend.
My Vegan Town
As Viva! spearheads the growth in veganism we launched a new site to help people shop, sleep and eat vegan! My Vegan Town has many hundreds of restaurant reviews plus details of vegan events and local groups. It is for the vegan community by the vegan community. www.myvegantown.org.uk.
30 Day Vegan
This is growing in popularity by the day and was updated with new tips, celebs and the groundwork laid for a new version to be launched this year. The programme is free and people who subscribe receive 30 emails with breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas (recipes plus ready-made alternatives); nutrition tips and celeb quotes for inspiration.
We had some amazing supporters doing amazing sponsored events for us throughout 2016, including Kelly Mason raising over £2,500 and 11 year old Miller Stott raising over £700 for a 10 mile walk.
Viva! is reliant on all our fantastic supporters for our work and we thank you all so much for everything you do to help Viva! and our campaigns.
Yours for the animals
Viva! founder & director
Want to get more active for animals? We have lots of tips on how to get involved