The injustices that Viva! tackles are perpetuated because they’re part of the cultural norm. It is normal not to care that animals are treated as commodities, denied happiness and freedom; existing rather than living in a cruel, man-made world. It is normal to be numb to the cries of terror and pain as animals are electrocuted and knifed. Viva!’s visit to a dairy cattle auction (page 28) turns the spotlight on the blinkered. Farmers who wrench one-day-old calves from their bellowing mothers; who prod these bewildered animals around an auction ring without even a shadow of emotion. Most of us were once part of this ‘norm’ – and I say this to remind everyone that people do change! And once your eyes have opened, it seems incredulous that you find yourself in a minority! Why are you expected to defend your position as a vegan or vegetarian when it is blindingly obvious that animal cruelty, environmental collapse and ill health are bad things?
Tony Wardle’s feature (page 37) goes some way to explaining why the power is largely in the hands of the exploiters. But don’t you feel that change is afoot? Although the establishment tries hard to steer us away from issues that may make us revolt; millions of people are… god forbid(!), thinking for themselves. Britain is starting to turn its back on abuse. Meat consumption has fallen significantly over the last decade – the equivalent of every Brit giving it up for one month a year. The size of the nondairy market jumped from 36 million litres in 2011 to 92 million litres in 2013 – an increase of 155 per cent in just two years.
One in seven yoghurts sold are now soya-based and growing – eight per cent year-on-year. Viva! is proud to be at the forefront of this shift but will not rest until WE are the norm! We have a diverse supporter base – the young, elderly and everyone in between. We have just relaunched our youth pages for under 18s (page 40) at www.vivaactivists.org.uk and are launching a new section for our mature folk, Viva! Elders (page 16).
If you want information on a care home, retirement complex or food supplier that provides for vegans and vegetarians, look no further. I never thought I’d end a Welcome column on a windy note! But we all do it, even us women, though ours smell of roses. I’m talking about one of the last taboos – farting! I’ve explained (page 12) why it is a healthy – nay essential – activity and why the trillions of micro critters that make us do it, keep us alive! Enjoy your beans and I’ll see you at the next vegan festival (www.viva.org.uk/events), Christmas dinner (page 5) or school speaker’s training day (page 19).
Yours for the animals