Plan to use farmed animals at the Olympics condemned | Viva!

Plan to use farmed animals at the Olympics condemned

Release date: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

LEADING animal campaigning group Viva! has criticised plans to feature live farmed animals – including sheep, ducks and chickens – at the Olympic opening ceremony* as “exploitative and potentially cruel”. 

The group also says that the plans – unveiled today by artistic director Danny Boyle – perpetuate the myth of small scale farming when the reality is that most farmed animals are now intensively reared in Britain.

Viva! campaigns director, Justin Kerswell, says: “This is wrong on so many levels. Why would anyone think it was a good idea to subject farmed animals to the pandemonium of an Olympic opening ceremony? It smacks of the Roman gladiatorial arena. Many of those animals, especially the sheep, are likely to be terrified.”

Mr Kerswell adds: “Quite apart from the serious welfare concerns of using farmed animals as little more than living props, it is also perpetuating a myth of a British countryside that doesn’t exist anymore outside the minds of the 2012 Olympic Committee and advertising agencies. The stark reality is that most animals raised for meat and dairy in Britain are increasingly intensively farmed. Almost all broiler chickens, ducks and most pigs are kept indoors in factory farms in their thousands. Danny Boyle’s vision of the British countryside is about as believable as the set of Teletubbies.

“The rest of the ceremony sounds great, but we sincerely hope that plans to use live farmed animals are consigned to the dustbin of bad ideas where they belong.”

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Notes to Editors

Viva! will be making an official complain to the Olympic 2012 committee. 

For more information about this media release, please contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or by emailing