TWENTY YEARS! Viva! has been, and remains, an exhilarating, rewarding and challenging rollercoaster ride.
We are a gritty group, rebelling against a grossly unfair world, absolutely determined to stop the institutionalised torture of animals.
I’ve looked into the eyes of the animals who are incarcerated; who have known nothing but a life of relentless, gnawing pain and utter frustration. What is hard is when they look back – really look back, like they are trying to work me out, find an answer in my soul. My reply is Viva!. Either we accept cruelty or we fight it. And through Viva!, I’ve met thousands of imaginative, warm-hearted people who are fighting in their way. Vegans, vegetarians, meat reducers, pescetarians – all people walking a path towards a cruelty-free life.
Take the late and much missed Ursula Bates of Solihull. She was a religious, respectable lady in her 60s – one whose response to a local show’s promotion of ostrich meat was to hose pipe the sizzling flesh on the BBQ’s! She caused quite a fracas, then did a radio interview while her group held Viva! placards declaring “Don’t bury your head in the sand, say NO to ostrich meat.” The local farm closed and shops selling ostrich did not source it from elsewhere! Or John Curzon, a Mancunian accountant who demonstrated his revulsion of duck farming by joining our ‘No Water No Life’ Duck Day of Action by dressing as a supermarket manager and having a bucket of cold water tipped over him for the cameras! It was mid-winter, too. And remember our patron, Wendy Turner Webster, not washing for a week while she worked with rescued animals (and hence sweated!) to raise funds for our duck campaign. Her husband Gary told me he prayed he’d get a job away that week!
This bumper issue celebrates 20 years of fighting for animals with you. Whether you quietly influence those around you or stand on tables shouting the score, it’s wonderful that you’re part of Viva!. I hope you can join in with our 20th anniversary year in some way: perhaps by organising a 20 km relay race or sponsoring ours (page 34); joining our special dinner on September 20 (page 19); entering our photo comp (page 33); nudging people to go dairy-free (pages 21 and 23); cooking vegan for meaty friends from our first ever Viva! Cookbook – then selling them copies and getting them to cook for you! (page 29); educating people, for example, on how dairy makes cancers grow (page 24); or seeing us at one of the many vegan festivals across the UK (page 5). Or perhaps the most powerful act – show your friends Cruel Britannia, our exposé of how major UK companies farm animals. It’s at www.viva.org.uk/cruelbritannia
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all the dedicated staff and you, our supporters, for helping Viva! grow. Veganism is one of the few individual acts we can all perform that has an immediate impact.
To end cruelty, to save the world. Viva! the bloodless revolution.
Founder & Director