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Matthews. Sales slumped. His 18-month long complaint to the TV regulator, backed by a battery of lawyers, was dismissed because ours was “an important investigation in the public interest.” Gaining publicity is not easy and some


important stories which are ready to go to press are often killed by editors because of breaking news. Our massive Pig in Hell investigation into nearly 40 pig farms revealed shocking conditions on all of them. The Daily Mirrorwas set to give it big coverage when foot and mouth disease broke out. Their reason for dropping it was that: “We have no intention of attacking British farmers when they’re under


and preventing Adidas for several years from selling kangaroo skin football boots in the State. Eventually, with big money and massive lobbying, Adidas prevailed – temporarily. With continued UK pressure they now intend giving up the cruel trade. Unrelenting pressure from the then Viva!


US manager, Lauren Ornelas, led to grocery chain Whole Food Markets rewriting their animal welfare code to exclude all factory- farmed meat and to its CEO becoming vegan. Our undercover teams have filmed


shocking images in slaughterhouses and at sites of ritual religious slaughter. They have been onto dairy farms, filmed mutilations of


th


baby animals and the latest exposé is goat farming – reported in this issue. It strips away all pretence that goat farming is somehow


kinder than dairy cow


farming and


that the milk and other products are inherently healthier


than cows’ milk. There are many other causes we have taken on and influenced: foie-gras, badgers, wild


such pressure.” The disease was eventually traced to a


pig farm very similar to those we were exposing and those conditions were central to the story. The European arm of CNN TV had far more vision and our campaign went across Europe. In Poland our successes have been


legion, leading to Viva! Poland becoming the pre-eminent animal campaigning group in the country. The most prominent campaign was that against the live export of horses, all the way to Italy to be slaughtered for meat. The trade collapsed from 100,000 horses annually to 30,000 and Poland’s chief vet blamed it on Viva!. Viva! US also had some astounding


successes, with the first-ever undercover exposé of duck farming and slaughter, getting foie-grasbanned from California


boar – a long list. But back to the original question of why do we do what we do? It is self-evident that our aim is to help


prevent the suffering of animals but it goes deeper than that. Society advances through knowledge and many shockingly cruel practices, pastimes and sports have been banned – not by those who perpetrated them but by people of conscience who carried public opinion with them. Whilst we campaign for individual


species of animals and often highlight particularly cruel practices, we are not an animal welfare group. We don‘t buy into the concept of treat them nicely and then it’s okay to kill them. I honestly do not believe that a person who spends their days cutting the throats of terrified animals, or who beats horses into submission, or who shoots trapped badgers, or dashes the


heads of baby goats against a wall are unaffected by what they do. There is a callousing of their emotions, a hardening of the soul, if there is such a thing, there is a suspension of one of life’s most important emotions – compassion. They cannot help but carry that desensitisation into the other areas of their lives. There is now sound science showing that


animal abuse frequently escalates into human abuse. And is it any surprise? There is something particularly obscene about the abuse of helpless, defenceless, creatures – human or non-human. We rightly react with horror at atrocities carried out in Syria and Lybia or historically in Vietnam, Malaya or Nazi occupied Europe. But we cannot then suspend that revulsion because the creature being abused is of a different species and the process is excused because they are then eaten or have an economic value. Our ability to experience fear and feel


pain was not suddenly handed down to us in tablets of stone but developed over the millennia of evolution. It is self-evident that the creatures we incarcerate and mutilate, abuse and slaughter, share those same emotions and sensations. So, yes, we will act for individual species


of animals and we will try to alleviate specific acts of cruelty such as dehorning but we have a much wider agenda than that and it is to end the exploitation of all animals, for their sakes and for ours. The industries involved will not admit the cruelties, the Government largely ignores them and so it is down to Viva! and others of similar conscience to reach out beyond industry and government and talk directly to individuals. We do it through our Roadshows and


public talks, through education and helping individuals to change their diet. But to reach millions at any one time we need the media. We cannot simply say to the world ‘go veggie’ because we will be ignored. But we know that every campaign we launch, every individual act of cruelty we expose, every farmer we shame is part of a continuum of influence, it is a drip, drip, drip of information that will eventually culminate in change. And that change is happening. The latest


Government figures show that the average person is eating around 47 fewer meat- based dishes annually compared to 2005. There was a drop in meat consumption of 23,000 tonnes between 2010 and 2011. Since 2005 the reduction has been 134,000 tonnes. Translated into lives, 695,000 fewer land animals were slaughtered in Britain compared to 2010. What makes these figures even more extraordinary is that there has been a population increase of two million people since 2005. Yes, I think I know who I am and why I


do what I do. www.viva.org.uk 33


life


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