2012 in Review: Highlights From PETA UK
What better time is there to reflect on a great year of hard work than New Year’s Eve. While we’re gearing up for 2013, here’s a look back at some PETA UK staffers’ highlights from 2012.
Mimi: Every new week brings something to celebrate – a campaign victory, such as getting the House of Lords to stop serving foie gras, a marketing milestone like reaching 25,000 fans on Facebook or a press coup like our press officer, Ben’s, appearance on This Morning, where we were able to reach thousands of people in a few minutes about what fur-bearing animals endure for their skin. I’m so proud to work with such a passionate team of animal advocates – there’s nowhere else I’d rather be every day and no other group of people I’d rather work with.
Tim: For me, the most inspiring part of 2012 was a small act by one person. A Dutch PETA supporter contacted a Danish clothing company and asked the company to stop selling fur. She showed officials a PETA video, and it worked! The brand has agreed to go fur-free. It is quite inspiring that a single person with one letter can make a huge difference and make this world a bit more animal-friendly.
Robbie: In 2012, we brought our campaign against fur to Russia, the country that buys more fur than any other in the world. A new PETA ad was designed to help people understand that fur is not compatible with compassion. It was a first for PETA, and it was met with wide media coverage. We hope to influence a younger generation of Russians to start to think differently about animals.
Claire: This year, the launch of the Stella McCartney anti-leather film was my highlight. It is great to get people to think about where leather comes from, as many people are under the impression that leather is a “by-product” of the meat industry, when it is not. It is a “co-product”, and what people don’t realise is that like in fur production, many animals are skinned alive in the slaughterhouse for leather. People also don’t realise that their purse or bag could be made from a cat or dog, just like in the fur industry.
Elisa: We moved offices this year! It was no easy feat, but we’re now in our new Kings Cross home, where we can even feed the birds on the canal during our lunch hour. Aww.
Yvonne: Editing the harrowing footage from goose foie gras farms in France that was filmed by our investigators had the biggest impact on me in 2012. It was very difficult to watch, but thanks to the investigators’ bravery, we have been able to show the world the barbaric conditions and treatment faced by the poor geese who supply Fortnum & Mason’s foie gras distributors. PETA’s foie gras campaign ambassador Sir Roger Moore didn’t let us down, and within 48 hours, he was in a recording studio to narrate the footage. Once again, his involvement resulted in the footage making headlines around the world and opening countless people’s eyes to this “torture in a tin”. This footage continues to have a huge impact, and in just the past few days, PETA has secured another victory for ducks and geese after peers demanded the removal of foie gras from the House of Lords restaurants after we wrote to them and sent the narration. The investigators rescued these three beautiful geese – and knowing that they have been spared the horror of force feeding and will spend the rest of their lives being adored at a sanctuary is the best Christmas gift of all.
Abi: For nearly two centuries, the MoD has financially supported the shameful slaughter of black bears in Canada to make The Queen’s Guards’ caps. This summer, hundreds of PETA supporters marched through central London to ask the MoD to switch to a humane, synthetic alternative. Bill Oddie and actor Peter Egan kicked off the march, and it was a wonderful example of PETA supporters coming together.
Antonio: This year, Pretty Green, Liam Gallagher’s clothing brand, confirmed its no-fur policy and that it is now labelling any faux-fur trim on its garments. The news was covered by the music media, including NME and Clash Music. While it is one of many brands to ditch fur, Pretty Green was able to bring an animal rights message to rock magazine readers.
Dan: For World Vegan Month, we asked more than a half-million people to stay fresh and firm and go vegan. A video made by Fallon London went viral. Hinting at the sexual health benefits of going vegan, the video featured men enthusiastically showing off protrusions from their trousers and was covered by The Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, The Independent, Men’s Health and Playboy as well as dozens of bloggers and thousands of Twitter users. Through the silliness and fun in the video, we were able to efficiently share a vegan message to people around the world.
Gilly: For more than a year, PETA worked to influence the process of translating European Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes into UK law. Thousands of PETA supporters responded to the consultation and contacted the minister to urge that standards in UK laboratories not be dropped even further. PETA is very pleased to see that the government has resisted some of the most obvious threats that the new directive posed to animals in UK laboratories and has accepted many of the arguments that we put forward in our detailed response consultation last year, including maintaining existing protection for dogs and cats and maintenance of larger enclosures and cage sizes for a number of species.
This is only a tiny fraction of what we got up to this year, and we’re looking forward to a wonderful 2013. To keep up, make sure you sign up for our e-news for all the latest. Happy New Year!