Model press release for local groups


Stop the massacre of pregnant cows and their calves! - National Week of Action 7th-14th August 1999.

Simply copy out the text below and change all the sections in italics to to apply to your demo. Use paper marked with your group name and 'press release' - or Viva! local group headed paper.

Secret slaughter of pregnant cows exposed

Photo-call, (date and time) outside (burger bar, name of street & town) Local slaughterhouses and burger bars are involved in a shocking trade which until now has remained secret - the annual slaughter of 150,000 pregnant cows. At least 40,000 are in the last trimester of pregnancy - approaching full term - bearing calves which are capable of independent life. There are no welfare regulations to protect these unborn babies and they are discarded as so much trash..

The animal charity Viva! is launching a public education campaign and National Week of Action in order to end this gruesome practice and (name if of local group) will be playing a key role. A day of action will be held in (name of town) on (date), when customers at the (name of burger bar) restaurant in (Street), will be confronted by trash bins bearing the slogan - 'Burger trash, 150,000 mothers and their babies'. Inside the bins will be children in blood-stained calf masks. Leaflets will be handed out asking consumers to say no to burgers.

"This is barbarity in a bun", says (name of local spokesperson), local group (spokesperson/co-ordinator, organiser etc.). The slaughter of a heavily pregnant cow is almost beyond description. She is shot in the head, which frequently doesn't stun her, and is then hoisted by a shackle around one leg. Her throat is then cut and she is disembowelled. Some are still conscious when this happens. Many of the calves are just days away from being born and are still living when their mothers are gutted. Such lack of compassion brutalises all of us and if people find it abhorrent, they should stop eating these animals."

Viva!'s veterinary adviser, Christopher Day MRCVS, says: "The slaughter of known pregnant animals should be made illegal forthwith. The unborn young are afforded no protection. When the female is paunched, the abdominal contents, including the gravid uterus, are allowed to tumble on to the concrete below and in this pile of waste the foetus is allowed to thrash and drown. In Britain we have pretensions about being compassionate to animals and this practice is wholly inconsistent with that."

Surprisingly, this slaughter is quite legal and takes place under the eyes of Ministry vets. The British Cattle Veterinary Association's only concerns are economic. It says: "Pregnant cows do not significantly increase the work involved on the slaughter line so their presence does not cause a problem or extra cost."

Ninety per cent of the slaughtered cows are dairy cattle and the main reasons for sending them to slaughter is lack of fertility. "So unconcerned are farmers about the fate of their livestock that they don't even carry out simple pregnancy tests before condemning them to death", says (name). "So much for their constant boast - 'we love our animals'".

Over 400 local Viva! groups are expected to take part in the action outside burger bars nationwide. The campaign will include powerfully worded advertisements, leaflets and posters picturing a pregnant cow with the words 'This is your Burger' and a bloody calf with the words 'This is the trash'. They also carry the slogan Meat - it's a Bloody Business.


Note to Editors. Demonstrations by Viva! groups including (add your group name if you demonstrated) outside local supermarkets led to all the major retailers withdraw from the sale of 'exotic' meats - kangaroo, ostrich, emu and crocodile.

For further information contact (name) on (phone no.) or Viva! on 0117 944 1000