2021: Viva! Review
2021 has continued to be dominated by Covid-19, with lots of uncertainty and disruption across the world. Throughout this pandemic we have continued to fight for animals, investigate and expose farms and reach the public through creative, engaging campaigns.
Veganism has continued to grow across the UK and globally, with many people now making the connection between animal farming and the climate crisis. There is still so much more to be done for animals though, and we will continue the fight into 2022 and beyond.
By Juliet Gellatley, Viva! founder and director
‘High-End’ Rainbow Trout Investigation
We investigated four rainbow trout farms supplying high-end supermarkets and ‘luxury’ food retailers including Waitrose, Abel & Cole, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. Instead of crystal-clear chalk stream water, the trout were found severely overcrowded in filthy ponds suffering from extreme stress, abrasive injury and predation.
Video footage from a Test Valley Trout farm, supplying ChalkStream Foods and endorsed by top chef Jamie Oliver, also captured workers throwing live trout, kicking them with frustration, and bashing them around the head with a wooden priest (a short blunt baton). This is an extremely ineffective way to kill fish, which prolongs a painful death.
On 11 February 2021, the RSPCA confirmed the removal of Test valley Trout’s Island farm’s RSPCA Assured certification scheme and our investigation made the national papers.
Save a Baby
Our Save a Baby campaign launched in the Spring, leading with a powerful message which appealed to the good nature of the public. Lambs are the epitome of the changing season and most of us love watching these cute babies frolic and wag their little tails. However, millions of these beautiful creatures are killed at just 12 weeks old. About one billion baby animals are slaughtered every year in the UK.
Our thought-provoking billboards reached a staggering 10 million people across the North West of England, reaching people in Liverpool, Manchester, Bootle, Birkenhead, Stockport, Oldham, Eccles, Bolton and Bury, while our video reached thousands more online.
Broiler Chicken Investigations
In the UK, over one billion broiler chickens are slaughtered every year. Demand for cheap chicken is so high that broilers outnumber all other land-based farmed animals combined by a staggering rate of more than four to one. Around 95 per cent of chickens are intensively reared on factory farms. As part of our groundbreaking campaign, End Factory Farming, we investigated three Red Tractor-assured farms, contracted by Britain’s largest poultry producers – Avara Foods, Hook2Sisters, and Moy Park – which supply major supermarkets and best-known brands, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and KFC.
Pig Breeding Facility forced to close following Viva! Investigation
One year after our distressing investigation into Winterbrook Farm Partners, where we recorded farm workers ‘thumping’ young piglets – smashing their tiny heads into the concrete floor, Calvesley pig farm was ordered to cease operations, directly due to our expose. They were in the process of being demolished when our investigators returned.
The farm was a breeding unit, home to hundreds of female pigs who were routinely impregnated and forced to birth countless litters of piglets. A staggering 400 piglets a week were churned out and transported to another Winterbrook Farm Partners facility called Whiteshoot Farm – where they were reared for approximately five months before heading to slaughter.
Watch our video to see the impact of the forced closure of this horrible farm.
The Big Three
Chicken, Cheese and Chocolate? Yes, you ve-can!
As part of our End Factory Farming campaign, we also reached thousands more people, giving away delicious alternatives to chicken, cheese and chocolate. We wanted to show how delicious it can be to ‘Enjoy The Big 3 – Animal Free!’.
The Viva! team toured:
- St Albans
Our team exposed what really happens on dairy and broiler farms and engaged with hundreds of people on why we must end factory farming before it ends us and go vegan.
The response from the public was overwhelmingly positive! Read more about how the tour went here.
Fresher Fair Outreach
Continuing our university outreach work, at the start of the 2021/22 semester we attended four university fresher fairs to engage with students on the truth behind chicken and dairy. We visited the University of Reading and the University of Oxford for two days each, as well as one day at the University of Southampton and the University of Portsmouth.
We engaged with 2,500 students in total, many of whom were already thinking about veganism but needed a bit of encouragement. They expressed doubt over the virtues of vegan cheese – it still has a really bad reputation among meat-eaters it seems! – but almost everyone was wowed by Applewood’s vegan cheddar with its smoky flavour, while everyone said that Vego’s pralines tasted ‘just like chocolate’. A lot of students were worried about the potential costs of eating as a vegan, but the team was there to reassure students that a healthy, varied vegan diet can actually save you money when you factor in the cheapness of staples such as beans and grains. We also had our handy Student Guide to Eating Vegan leaflets, with over 2,000 students eagerly taking one home.
End Factory Farming Petition with Peter Egan
Since its launch in 2020, tens of thousands of you have signed our petition to End Factory Farming Before It Ends Us. COP26 was the perfect time to hand in our petition to 10 Downing Street as the media covered the climate crisis. Factory farming inflicts unimaginable suffering on over one billion animals every year in the UK. It is also a breeding ground for diseases and future pandemics, and wrecks our planet.
Juliet Gellatley Wins St. Francis Award
I was honoured to receive the St. Francis Award by Catholic Concern for Animals, an award which recognises individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving animal welfare and advancing animals’ status in human society. Viva! is not too far away from its 30-year anniversary now and it’s so encouraging to be recognised for all our hard work for the animals and planet.
Support the first-ever national television vegan advert!
As a grand finale of 2021, we’ve worked with an incredible production team to create our first TV advert for Channel 4. We’re now in the midst of a huge fundraising push to get enough money to reach 16 million people on national television.
An extremely generous donor is doubling every donation, so £10 becomes £20, and on top of that Channel 4 will also double that amount. It means that if you donate £5, it is quadrupled and worth £20! If you can donate £25, that becomes £100!
If we can raise the funds, the advert will be broadcast just before Valentine’s Day on Channel 4 and its associated networks. Please support our campaign if you can.
The repercussions of the climate crisis are becoming more obvious – and far more deadly. Animal agriculture is a driving factor behind this ecological crisis; farming animals for meat, dairy and eggs is a primary contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water and land use.
Going vegan has been scientifically proven to be the ‘single biggest way’ that individuals can reduce their impact on our planet. Young people are increasingly leading the way with climate strikes and so, in spring 2021, we saw an opportunity to relaunch our innovative campaign and connect with those who may not relate to the cruelty of animal farming.
Our digital week of actions reached tens of thousands of people, with simple graphics making the relationship between animal farming and the climate crisis clear. Our social media engagement brought in lots of non-followers, meaning that we were reaching new audiences with our campaign.
This is Fine
As lockdowns continued, we developed the next stage of our Vegan Now campaign, producing and releasing a new short film, ‘This Is Fine’.
Our illustrated animation played on the viral meme, ‘This is fine’. The short video demonstrates the devastating impact animal agriculture is having on our planet and offers a solution – go vegan now.
Over 300,000 people have watched our ad, which demonstrates how our relationship with animals is NOT fine and how veganism is essential for animals, wildlife and ourselves.
Viva! La Burger Tour Success!
In our back-to-back tour, we visited Brighton, Worthing, Salisbury, Reading, and Bath to hand out the hugely popular Taste & Glory burgers and spread our message about why we need the world to go Vegan Now. Our mission was simple: show people that you don’t have to sacrifice on taste to save the planet!
Across the five cities, we handed out a whopping 1,300 burger samples and spoke to more than 1,500 people about going vegan for animals, the planet, and our health. Almost everyone said that they couldn’t taste a difference from beef burgers, and many said that they would definitely be eating more vegan food as a direct result of chatting with the Viva! team.
Viva! Takes Aim at COP26
For two weeks in November, world leaders met at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP26. Scientists and experts alike emphasised that this summit was one of the last chances to protect the planet from ecological collapse.
However, it quickly became apparent that no government, including our own, was going to mention the elephant in the room. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of the climate crisis. Yet there was not one mention of the need to reduce our consumption of meat, dairy and eggs. For the entire duration of COP26 we had huge billboards seen by millions of people in Edinburgh City Centre, Edinburgh Railway station, Euston Railway station and Brent, London, plus lots of A6 posters in Glasgow.
We also held two outreach events in Glasgow for the first two days of COP26. On 1 November, World Vegan Day, we gave out vegan sausage rolls and engaged with hundreds of people in the street.
Later, we unfurled our Vegan Now banner at the iconic George Square, handed out hundreds of leaflets and gave interviews for various organisations, media channels and universities, including BBC Glasgow and the University of St Andrews.
Marching Across The Nation
We ended the COP26 tour by marching in Bristol on 6 November as part of the worldwide marches for climate justice. We would like to say a huge thank you to those of you who volunteered to represent Viva! and animals at a whopping 17 cities across the UK: Glasgow, London, Birmingham, York, Cardiff, Manchester, Preston, Newcastle, Brighton, Glasgow, Monmouth, Lancaster, Cambridge, Leicester, Sheffield, Leeds and Bromley.
Burger Tour 2.0
Following the success of our burger tour in July, we then headed to York, Leeds and Liverpool to engage with people on the impact of meat on our world – all while the world’s leaders continued to put their heads in the sand in Glasgow.
We partnered once again with Taste & Glory, a vegan meat company which kindly provided us with over 400 delicious patties. We engaged in direct conversation with 750 people across the three days of the burger tour in York, Leeds and Liverpool. Approximately 50% of the general public who queued up and spoke with us had never eaten a vegan burger before, and many were sceptical – but not for long!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Taste & Glory for supporting our campaign.
More from Viva! Planet
- Four new blogs for the Viva! Planet website were published throughout September 2021:
Dying for a Burger is to be translated and published in Germany by World Vegan Magazine!
- We publicised a huge story linking dairy to deforestation: Dairy driving deforestation – Cadbury and Cathedral City exposed. This exposé revealed that UK farms supplying milk and dairy products for Cadbury’s chocolate, Cathedral City cheddar, Anchor butter, Country Life butter, Clover dairy spread, Davidstow cheddar, Arla’s Cravendale milk and Asda’s Farmers Milk feed their cattle soya from a company accused of widespread deforestation in Brazil.
- We also set the record straight on why it is meat and dairy, not avocados and almonds that are disastrous for the environment.
We have big plans for 2022 – watch this space!
Vegan for Health summarises the huge health benefits of a vegan diet; reducing your risk of disease and providing everything you need to thrive. This informative guide provides a guided tour through all the nutrients you need as well as a trip through the body showing how we are naturally vegan. It includes myth-busting facts and a few surprises along the way!
Viva! Sports Nutrition reveals what you need to eat for different sports and why being vegan offers many performance and health advantages. It explains why plant-based foods make your body work better, speed up muscle recovery and give you more energy, and offers practical advice and meal plans!
- We published over 40 feature articles in the magazines PlantBased and Vegan Food & Living. Popular features published online included:
- We continued expanding and updating our popular A-Z sections. The A-Z of nutrients answers all your questions and more on every nutrient you need for good health. Do you know the latest advice on vitamins B12 and D? We added many more foods to our A-Z of foods from acai to wild garlic!
- In Health News, Viva! Health posted responses to the latest food and health stories in the news, combatting ill-informed scare stories like the one saying a vegan diet could make you lose your hearing! Good ones included the world’s first vegan hospital and free vegan school milk in Scotland and how UK meat consumption has fallen by 17 per cent in the last decade.
- And finally, we launched Thriving Vegan Children – a whole new section on our website on nutrition for children. It includes advice on feeding for children of different ages, feeding a growing body, healthy snacks and lot more.
New Vegan Recipe Club Website and ads
To coincide with the launch of our new Vegan Recipe Club website we unveiled our incredible new marketing campaign ‘Yes, You Ve-can.’
This campaign introduces four characters; gen-z guy, mum and child and millennial woman. Each character is struggling to make delicious vegan food.
A bland salad, a dry crumbly cake or an overly complicated recipe, we’ve all experienced the shattering disappointment of a cookery venture which doesn’t quite work out the way we imagined.
Our new campaign poked fun at vegan stereotypes and once the characters discover Viva!’s Vegan Recipe Club they realise that delicious doesn’t have to be difficult!
With hundreds of tried and tested vegan recipes plus practical step-by-step guides we guarantee users will be saying ‘Yes, I ve-can!’
In April 2021, we launched our News Minisode and changed the format of our Podcast. We then went ahead and secured interviews with some high-profile vegans including Hannah Carter, Founder, OGGS®, Sean O’Callaghan (AKA Fat Gay Vegan), actor, TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, ‘Bake Off: The Professionals’ Winner Thibault Courtoisier, animal rights activist Joey Carbstrong, Phil Manansala, the guitarist Of Mice & Men and many more!
We had numerous people generously fundraising for Viva! In 2021, and we appreciate everything you all do for us, truly. Here are just some of the amazing Viva! Heroes that helped us in 2021.
- Thank you so much to Paul Youd, who, shortly before his 84th birthday ran the SW Ultra Marathon Minehead to Dawlish to raise funds for Viva!.
- Our supporter, James Gorman donated to Viva!’s Save a Baby billboard campaign and helped bring it to Southsea, Portsmouth.
- Congratulations Henry Read-Denness! The Thatcham teenager set himself the goal of walking 1,000 miles in six months to raise £650 for Viva! – in the end her raised £900 (plus Gift Aid), smashing his £650 target. Well done Henry in walking 1,000 miles over six months, and for everything you will undoubtedly continue to do for the animals!
Vegan Camp Out
In August, I spoke at Vegan Camp Out and we showed Hogwood: a modern horror story to several hundred people. It elicited a strong response with many people more determined than ever to save animals and help Viva! campaign. We can’t wait until it streams on Netflix in 2022 across Europe and the UK, giving the documentary unprecedented exposure.
Vegan Camp Out was also an opportunity for me to sit down with TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham for a chat. Our Head of Investigations Lex Rigby also had the opportunity to interview animal activist Joey Carbstrong.
2021 has been again a busy year for the web department.
- We have consolidated the main Viva! website with new sections. We have improved the design to make the site more friendly for mobile devices and we have adjusted the donations system to enhance the user experience.
- We have also created a new Vegan Recipe Club website and app using the last generation web tools. With this new website and app is much easier to find recipes and save them in your bookmark. You can also recover your saved recipes in all your devices.
- We have focussed on another new website for the 30 Day Vegan project. The new website is ready to be published very soon!
- At the end of the 2021 we have been working a lot with the new My Vegan Town website. The business directory is much easier to use, and many filters will be available to help you to find thousands of vegan businesses around all the world. There will be also an app version. The new site and app will be published at the beginning of 2022.
- The last web project we have created is Viva! Farming. This new website will provide many resources to help traditional farmer to do the transition to the vegan farming. This new website will be online at the end of December 2021.
Gifts for Life and Viva!life
Another amazing Gifts for Life catalogue was produced with a range of great new vegan designs, yummy chocolates and gifts – We are really proud of this year’s collection and we hope you loved it too.
We also launched our new Viva! Teemill shop with exciting new designs. Working with Teemill means less clothing waste as everything is printed to order and when the clothing has reached the end of its life- it can be sent back to Teemill to be remade into new clothing!
We produced three issues of the ever popular Viva!life magazine – which is going quarterly next year!
And finally – thank you for all of your support throughout this challenging year. Our work would not be possible without you.
Yours for the animals,
Founder & Director, Viva!