While I can’t remember the last time I ate a steak the inescapable truth is that I do eat meat. So what I’m about to say may have the faint whiff of hypocrisy about it. But please don’t let my fallibility detract from what I say about the good and necessary work that is being done by the animal rights groups Animals Australia, in Australia, and SAFE here in New Zealand.
While I’m sure both organisations would prefer we didn’t eat meat at all their primary aim is to ensure that food-producing animals are treated humanely. They speak for animals that have no voice.
The harsh reality is that far too many animals are raised in unnatural conditions in factory farms and treated cruelly in abattoirs and the live export trade.
The only way that will ever change is by changing laws. And the only way to change laws is from the bottom up. We the people have to demand change because producers won’t change their ways voluntarily and our leaders rarely, if ever, actually lead with initiative. At best they react to public pressure. So we need to apply that pressure.
With that in mind, the Sydney advertising agency I co-founded, LOUD, does pro-bono work for Animals Australia.
Over the years, as a Creative Director of LOUD, I sat through hours of secretly filmed footage showing sheep, pig and chickens being subjected to unnecessary cruelty in factory farms and the live export trade.
Scenes filmed in Middle Eastern and Indonesian abattoirs by Lyn White, of Animals Australia, were particularly heart stopping. Some of the cruelty shown made me cry. All of it made me angry.
Given the risks she took to get this footage my admiration for Lyn’s bravery knows no bounds.
Thankfully, the efforts of Lyn and her team in conjunction with LOUD’s advertising, (funded by incredibly generous patrons who prefer to remain unnamed), has resulted in real changes.
When we set out with a stated aim to put an end to factory farming people thought it was an impossible mission. So we turned that on its head by using a flying pig as a logo and asking people to ‘Make it Possible.’
The campaign resonated with many. In short, our work worked.
New legislation will see the eventual demise of factory farms in every state of Australia and one large supermarket chain has already committed to selling only free-range animal products.
Here’s a link to commercial I wrote a few years back to promote the cause. The soundtrack was arranged and produced by Russell Finch.
I have since retired from the ad world and returned to live in New Zealand, but LOUD, led by CEO Lorraine Jokovic, continues to do pro bono work for Animals Australia.