2022: Viva! Review
What a year 2022 has been.
Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine, the UK was plunged into a cost-of-living-crisis, we had three different Prime Minister’s in a few months, and we are set for a turbulent winter with many workers striking over pay and working conditions.
Against this backdrop, however, Viva! has continued its fight for animals, the planet and public health.
We saw huge victories, as following a Viva! investigation, Flat House Farm was taken to court, with 68 charges brought against them. Although the company pleaded guilty to just one charge, we’re satisfied with the farm’s closure and the fact that pigs are no longer suffering in this vile facility.
As refugees fled Ukraine, I flew to the Polish border to work with brave volunteers and Viva! Poland. They provided animal food and resources to families crossing the border with their companion animals.
Many rescued animals from Ukraine were taken to our Viva! Poland animal sanctuary and we were able to rehome some of the existing residents.
HOGWOOD – a modern horror story, Viva!’s 35-minute investigative documentary, was released on Netflix to an audience of millions and Viva! won prestigious marketing awards for our first-ever TV ad.
Veganism continues its unstoppable rise and Viva! is at the forefront of this, continuing to lead the way.
As we look to 2023, Viva! is working on lots of exciting new campaigns, new food projects and new health research and reports to help veganism keep growing.
Until then, let’s look back at some of our 2022 highlights.
– By Juliet Gellatley, Viva! Founder and International Director
It’s been two years in the making but 2022 finally saw HOGWOOD: a modern horror story stream across Netflix UK and Europe.
We were overwhelmed by the response from viewers and Viva! supporters helping us spread the word of this incredible documentary. The fact it is on Netflix means it will be seen by millions of people – and the potential for people to consider veganism as a result cannot be understated!
We will be celebrating in January 2023, with exclusive, VIP screenings in London, Exeter and Bristol.
Viva! Farming Launched
In February, we launched Viva! Farming. Viva! Farming wants to transform our food system by helping farmers transition away from using animals in agriculture. Our aim is to provide the necessary information and support to farmers who take pride in the fact they feed the nation but want to do so in a more sustainable and just way.
To mark this, we held an event in Birmingham, for more than 120 attendees.
For the digital launch there was a lively debate and a Q&A with Viva! Farming Coordinator Kerri Waters and veganic farmer Iain Tolhurst.
Kerri appeared on a debate on GB News and was fantastic. The topic was “Can going vegan save the planet?” she managed to keep her cool when the host (Mark Dolan) brought up studies (and myths) that are anti-vegan. She was also backed up by Jay from Geordie Shore, a fitness fanatic who is a proud vegan and appeared on the Viva! Podcast.
Sea Lice Campaign
Viva! launched its brand-new sea lice campaign which made even the most hardened fish-eaters squirm. It highlighted the plight of factory farmed fish and the frequent invasions of parasitic sea lice across UK salmon and trout farms.
Two hard- hitting campaign videos were produced and our friends at Plant Based News shared the animation video, helping It reach 120,000 views.
Duck Egg Investigation
In June, we uncovered abhorrent conditions on a duck egg farm in Lincolnshire, releasing our findings in an exposé, calling for an end to factory farming.
The video shows the reality of what life is like for these semi-aquatic animals, who are forced to live indoors their entire lives, without access to water. Read more about the investigation here:
Our supporters rally to action and joined Viva! in demanding Lincolnshire Co-op permanently drop the farm. We organised a demo outside Lincoln Co-op, which resulted in our demand being met. Lincolnshire Co-op dropped Quack! Duck Eggs for good – A Viva! victory for ducks!
Coverage of the investigation made it into The Guardian’s Animals Farmed newsletter and was picked up by Lincolnshire Live.
Flat House Farm Investigation
Back in 2020, Viva! investigated Flat House Farm, and in November 2022, the owners of the farm were taken to Leicester magistrates court by Trading Standards, with 68 charges brought against them.
Elvidge Farms Ltd – the company that owns Flat House Farm – pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It was ordered to pay a £4,500 fine, plus a £181 surcharge.
The conditions at Flat House Farm were some of the worst the Viva! team have ever filmed, revealing a disturbing lack of care for severely sick and dying animals housed in utter squalor. Red Tractor even admitted live on BBC Radio 4 that they were ‘appalled’ by the footage we obtained and that their reputation had been damaged as a result.
Viva! is pleased to report that Flat House Farm is no longer rearing pigs. This is a result of our investigation that tipped off authorities.
We are delighted that no more animals will be subjected to the horrific conditions that thousands of other pigs sadly endured.
Zero Grazing Appeal
We carried out a large investigation into dairy mega-farms – facilities that house thousands of cows indoors, year-round. it’s just the beginning of a much larger campaign that will be announced in spring 2023; so watch this space. To find out more in the meantime, read our review here:
Viva! Poland and the Ukraine Border
Viva! launched an email appeal to help provide support to Ukrainian animals in need. Traumatised and injured animals were amongst the flood of refugees falling victim to Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion. Viva! Poland’s 52-acre animal sanctuary became a vital space for rescuing desperate animals and ensuring adequate care was provided. Our wonderful Viva! Poland manager, Cezary Wyszyński, and his staff were either at the border or organising the urgent help needed, as soon as the scale of the catastrophe became clear.
They delivered tonnes of animal food to refugees who brought their beloved animals with them and took dozens of animals into the care of our sanctuary.
I appeared on GB News live from Viva! Poland sanctuary to congratulate staff and volunteers, who were doing 14-hour days on rotas.
The Bristol Post reported on Viva!’s work to support refugees and their companion animals in Poland and Ukraine:
- Bristol Post: Bristol-based charity Viva! rescues hundreds of Ukrainian animals in ‘desperate situation’
The Daily Express published a great piece with a live link to our website, featuring Viva! patron, Wendy Turner Webster, who spoke about the work Viva! and Viva! Poland were doing to help the animal victims of the war in Ukraine:
Coverage was also secured on Talk TV and four interviews on radio, including BBC London. Meanwhile, Plant Based News launched an Instagram fundraiser for Viva! Poland sanctuary.
Our Ukraine appeal total exceeded £100,000, showing the incredible generosity of the public.
Boris the Pig
We released a petition to stop schools from farming animals. This all started due to Boris the pig, who was going to be sent to slaughter by the Taunton primary school where he was living. He was thankfully rescued and now lives happily in a sanctuary surrounded by other pigs.
- Somerset County Gazette: Petition to stop school animals after Boris the Pig saved
- Plant Based News: This New Petition Is Urging Schools To Stop Keeping Farm Animals
In July, Viva! launched a vegan pop-up restaurant in Brixton, London, to promote our environmental campaign Eating The Earth! The event had numerous influencers attend, and food was prepared by Michelin star chef Chef Anton Petrov.
We also launched our webpage complete with innovative wildlife map:
In addition to new campaign leaflets vivashop.org.uk/collections/materials/products/eating-the-earth-leaflets-x-50
World Animals Voice cover our Eating The Earth campaign:
- World Animals Voice: England: Eating the Earth
Viva!’s head of research, Dr. Justine Butler released her excellent report Nature in Danger – animal agriculture and wildlife: a world out of balance. The report looked into the serious threat of extinction faced by one million animal and plant species worldwide and how this threatens the future of all humanity
In September, we launched a Wildlife Week of Action which was a soaring success.
Alongside drawing attention to the impacts that meat, dairy, fish and eggs are having on the world’s wildlife, the week of action focused on raising awareness of the simple vegan swaps that are available on the high street.
Several vegan groups got involved as 17 stalls were held across the UK – using Viva!’s Swaps to Save Wildlife stall packs. From the cityscape of Glasgow all the way to the rural settings of Redruth in Cornwall, people got together to celebrate vegan food and how it provides one of the key solutions to the climate and ecological crises that the world is currently facing. People could also get involved online over the week of action.
Viva! also had a social media “vegan and environment myth busting” push over COP27.
We worked to get carbon labelling on menus and created a petition which urges the government to prioritise carbon labelling over calorie labels. The aim of the project is to raise awareness about how much lower the carbon footprint of vegan options are and that going vegan is necessary to save our planet.
Bristol’s Canteen restaurant added carbon counting to their menu and we secured a lot of international and regional press coverage – in fact, over 90 titles covered the story, including Forbes India, The Straits Times (Singapore), The New Indian Express (India), TUKO News (Kenya), Yahoo, WhatsNew2Day, News18, MalayMail, Daily Sabah and Borneo Bulletin.
- Yahoo: Bristol restaurant becomes first in Britain to add carbon emissions to menu
- The Independent: Bristol restaurant becomes first in Britain to add carbon emissions to menu
- The Daily Mail: Vegetarian Bristol restaurant becomes first in Britain to add carbon emissions count to its menu – teaming up with vegan charity who challenge venues serving meat to do the same
Viva! Burger Van Tour
The new Viva! La Burger Tour hit the roads in August, this time visiting: Southend-on-Sea; Ipswich; Norwich; Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester. We’ve had local volunteers and vegan groups come along to help with the events. We were also featured in 11 different publications.
End World Speciesism Day
Launching ahead of World Day for The End of Speciesism, we showcased new creative work in partnership with McCann Birmingham to challenge people to reconsider their perception of speciesism, and go vegan.
The striking creatives replicate real photos of hunters – but instead of rhinos, zebras and lions, they stand proudly next to cows, pigs and sheep. Speciesism refers to the ideology that the lives and interests of one species are valued over another. This campaign shines a light on the connection between animal cruelty and what people are putting on their plates.
2022 was a big year for Viva! Health.
We published two new scientific reports written by Viva!’s head of research, Dr Justine Butler. Factory Farms – a breeding ground for disease draws attention to the pandemic threat of animal agriculture and Nature in Danger – animal agriculture and wildlife: a world out of balance focuses on the serious threat of extinction faced by one million animal and plant species worldwide and how this threatens the future of all humanity.
In addition, we published dozens of features, articles, opinion and response pieces and we reached millions through our press exposure, which included coverage from The Express, The Independent, The Daily Mirror, Vegan Food & Living and PlantBased magazines. The FT published Dangers of invading nature become ever starker with an online reach of 28 million and Dr Butler’s comment on how to live longer was syndicated out to 46 outlets including The Independent, Irish Daily Mirror and Yahoo News.
Popular features published online included:
- 6 tips for being a thriving vegan in older age
- The alarming spread of bird flu in the UK
- BUSTED! … the top 10 vegan food myths
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 and this year the A-Z of Foods offered the latest advice on everything from coffee to kimchi and sweetcorn.
In Health News, Viva! Health posted responses to the latest food and health stories in the news such as Daily Fail – ignore the headlines, refuting irresponsible claims made in the Daily Mail that eating plenty of veg will NOT help ward off heart disease.
Other features were published by Plant Based News, included how factory farming contributes toward the threat of bird flu, with commentary from Juliet: How bird flu could become a ‘global tsunami’ affecting humans as outbreak rages on and Veronika Prošek Charvátová spoke to The Express about the incredible properties of the acai berry: The berry that ‘can protect blood vessels from damage’ due to antioxidants.
We also updated our statistics on veganism (go take a look) Statistics about veganism and called upon the (then) PM Boris Johnson to promote veganism as a way of stopping the spread of zoonotic diseases, such as Mpox (monkeypox).
We published five new mini fact sheets (very popular at outreach events): Immune system, Healthy weight, Fish is not a health food, Dementia and diet and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and online, we updated five detailed and fully referenced factsheets: White Lies, Fishing for Facts, Egg on You Face, Healthy Vegan Kids, and The Protein Myth and a published new one Meat the Truth.
We continue to provide the latest research on how a healthy a vegan diet can provide all the nutrients you need while helping to prevent and treat disease.
Sport & Fitness
The start of 2022 saw Viva! partner with Tranmere Rovers, who encouraged their fans to their fans to try vegan for a month
Juliet was interviewed by BBC Merseyside about the Tranmere Rovers collaboration, also which was also covered by:
- Einpresswire: Tranmere Rovers asks fans to try veganism to save the planet
- BusinessGreen News: ‘Score for the planet’: Tranmere Rovers FC vows to promote veganism to players and fans for veganuary
- My Green Pod: Score for the planet
- Vegan Food UK: Football Club To Promote Veganism Throughout Veganuary
Brendon Bale captain of the Green Gazelles Rugby Club joined Viva! as our Health & Fitness Ambassador.
He has created a series of videos on YouTube to help us reach 18–35-year-old men and to talk about the benefits of veganism on fitness and performance!
These will be launched on the Viva! YouTube channel in 2023!
Viva! TV Ad Takeaway the Meat
This was a huge success! and we are delighted to announce we were the “second most complained about TV Ad of 2022!” Bodyform ad rakes in the most complaints of 2022 (marketingweek.com) (Congratulations to Bodyform for taking the number one spot).
We raised £40,000 to make the TV Ad and an additional Crowdfund total of £40,000 to have it distributed on Channel 4 and its associated networks. The ad was seen by a staggering 16 million people! Thank you to everyone who contributed.
We received some excellent coverage in the press, especially from The Daily Mail who couldn’t get enough.
- The Daily Mail: ‘Showing a pig with a meat cleaver is disgusting’: Backlash at ‘controversial’ vegan TV advert in which couple receive a live pig and the weapon to kill it as a takeaway order
- The Daily Mail: Viva! Charity mocks Just Eat and meat-eaters with new advert
- IKnowAllNews: Backlash at ‘controversial’ vegan TV advert of pig and meat cleaver
Activist Joey Carbstrong posted a succinct video coming to the defence of the ad as well:
The TV ad also won at The Drum Roses, which celebrates the UK’s most talented creatives outside of London and has been running for over 35 years. Our TV ad, ‘Takeaway the Meat’, placed SILVER in the esteemed TV/Cinema Campaign category – and that wasn’t the only win of the night, as Viva!’s This Is Fine animation scooped up GOLD in the Animation/Illustration category and BRONZE in the Viral Video category.
The podcast continued to feature some of the biggest names in veganism including Sam Carter (Architects), Heather Mills, KC Michael Mansfield, Matt Pritchard and many more.
Law News and The Times wrote articles on the Michael Mansfield interview in the Viva! Vegan Podcast:
Vegan Camp Out
The Viva! team pulled together once again to make this the best Vegan Camp Out yet. I delivered my talks, Ditch the Dairy, and Face to Face with a Mountain Gorilla, while Viva!’s Tony Wardle spoke on Meat, Dairy and Bullshit. Finally, Viva!’s managing Director Laura Hellwig spoke about How to Save More Animals.
This year was bigger and better than ever with 10,000 vegans listening to performances from JME, Simon Amstell, Preacher Lawson, Earthling Ed, JME, Evanna Lynch, Gaz Oakley, Bimini, Matt Pritchard, Heather Mills and many more!
2022 saw some big changes taking place for the web department
The biggest web project for 2022 has been the new My Vegan Town website and app.
We have worked hard adding new vegan business and professionals to the site from across the UK in addition to ‘moving over’ existing businesses.
The main Viva! site also underwent huge improvements, with additional pages added across health, animals, planet, lifestyle, and more. We also added even more delicious recipes to VRC, and across social media broke the 150,000 Facebook follower mark.
In 2023, we are very excited to release the new V30 and V7 sites with improved meal plans.
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 sweets and gifts – We also launched our brand-new adoption scheme with Beneath The Wood and plan to add more adoptees very soon with Viva! Poland, Dean Farm Sanctuary & Hillside Sanctuary!
We are really proud of this year’s collection, and we hope you loved it too.
We also produced four issues of the ever-popular Viva!life magazine, up from three in 2021!
And finally – thank you for all of your support throughout this incredibly rewarding, yet difficult year. Our work would not be possible without you.
Yours for the animals,
Founder & Director, Viva!