There was a sow whose blue eyes tore at my heart strings on a British factory farm. She touched me so very deeply. Many of you have contacted me to tell me that she touched you too. I am Blue and so are you.
Kept in a filthy, dank room, encased in a metal cage scarcely bigger than her body, I looked into her eyes and she held my gaze. Blue was there for one purpose only – to be raped.
Factory farmers see Blue and other mothering sows as nothing more than a baby machine. In her eyes I saw so much more than that. I saw pain and fear but also a strong spirit and fierce intelligence. Her eyes seemed to implore me to explain why she was there and I sensed a longing to be free. In the wild, Blue would be free – free to wander amongst the woodlands; free from the breezeblock walls of the factory farm; free from the stench of imprisonment. In the wild Blue would be free to be a good mother; to build a nest of twigs and leaves for her babies and in the wild Blue would watch her babies grow.
But Blue is not free. She is at the centre of a constantly-repeated cycle of pregnancy, confinement, birth and separation. She will watch her babies be taken from her and hear their screams as they are mutilated; tails severed and back teeth clipped off without anaesthetic.
We know because we have filmed these scenes. Like most sows, she will not be able to properly mother her babies as she will be imprisoned in a metal crate so small she won’t be able even to turn around. Her babies will be taken from her while very young – far too young – and she will never see them again. Just imagine the anguish! And it will happen again and again until she is exhausted. Only then might Blue glimpse some sky, a tree or two and smell fresh air as it will be her turn to be taken to the slaughterhouse.
I am Blue and so are you. If you find this difficult to read, I can promise you it is devastating to witness first-hand. Blue has become my inspiration to make things better for her and other farmed animals and to end the hellish cycle of abuse and slaughter.
As I sat there on my haunches and our eyes locked I could see that Blue had fight in her eyes and so do I. I made her a promise that I would tell the world her story and this is what I am doing.
Our Face Off campaign, with its portable screens, has taken Blue to streets across the UK where thousands have viewed her plight.
So far on social media, over 1.5 million people have watched our footage and the numbers are growing. In the last few weeks we have extended the fight to turkeys and egg-laying chickens with headlines in the Daily Mail, Metro, The Independent and on ITV.
So people can get even closer to feeling what life is really like on factory farms, we have exciting plans to introduce cutting-edge virtual reality and 3D technology to our Face Off campaign and double our advocacy in 2017. But it all costs money.
Our campaigns work and people everywhere are changing their eating habits. Nothing is more effective than our real-life stories of how animals suffer. But yet again we have to ask for your support as we can’t do this alone. It is expensive to get our brilliant undercover investigators to what may be any part of Britain. Our costs never end – fuel and maintenance, equipment servicing and replacement, printed materials to accompany our exposés, which are distributed nationwide through our local groups.
Outreach is vital and last year we published our inspiring, 64-page Everyone’s Going Vegan! magazine and held massive vegan events across the UK where it was distributed. I can’t tell you how extraordinarily positive the response has been, with thousands going vegan – and for everyone who does so, thousands of animals are saved from suffering.
We are riding a wave that we have helped to create and meat sales are falling. We hate to keep asking for your help but it is that which makes us so successful. Please give what you can to ensure we can continue to tell Blue’s story.
Your support means everything and together we are changing the world.
Yours for the animals
Viva! founder and director