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On Monday 19th December, London commuters will be treated to a flash performance by vegan pole fitness instructors, Terri Walsh and Michael Donohoe, as they launch the first ever vegan advertising campaign on the London Underground.
The adverts were created by Veganuary – the charity that encourages people to try vegan in January – and were crowdfunded by the vegan community. They feature three animals – Rocky the calf, a chick called Little Eric and a naughty but very loveable piglet named Ernie – who urge passengers to read their stories and join thousands of others around the world who choose to eat no animal products at all in January.
Last year, 23,000 people from 142 countries took part in Veganuary, including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, writer and activist, Jack Monroe and Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan. And when model and tattoo artist Kat von D shared her support for Veganuary, she crashed the charity’s website. This year, star of television series, Sherlock, Amanda Abbington will be taking part alongside Rebecca Callard, The Borrowers actress and daughter of Coronation Street actress, Beverley. Other celebrity participants will be announced shortly.
Everyone who registers to take part in Veganuary 2017 will receive a free e-cookbook which features the favourite vegan recipes and meals of the stars, including:
The rise in veganism has been extraordinary with a 360% increase in the number of vegans in Britain over the past ten years according to research commissioned this year by The Vegan Society. Now, there are more than half a million vegans, and the high streets are reflecting that change. Las Iguanas, Zizzi, Pizza Express, The Handmade Burger Company, YO! Sushi and many other restaurants have added vegan options to their menus, while Pret this year opened its first fully meat- and fish-free outlet, and is expected to open more. Supermarkets are also reflecting the move to animal-free foods and have gone way beyond stocking the basics – dairy-free milks, cheese and yoghurts, for example – to sell vegan lasagnes, salted caramel ice cream and croissants.
Veganism’s popularity is, in part, driven by its high-profile advocates, with stars like Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus and Sia being vegan. Comedians Sara Pascoe and Romesh Ranganathan are also vegan and feature in a film to promote Veganuary [see below]. Sportspeople are also increasingly turning to veganism with boxer David Haye, Norwich City FC Captain Russell Martin and tennis player Serena Williams all adopting a vegan diet. And it’s not just about eating animal-free, celebrities are also promoting delicious vegan foods to others with Nick Knowles, Moby and Novak Djokovic all opening vegan restaurants.
Says Clea Grady, Marketing Manager at Veganuary: ‘The rise in veganism may be influenced by celebrities but the number one reason that people give for taking part in Veganuary is to protect animals. Farming is a brutal business. Male chicks are killed at a day old because they aren’t able to lay eggs, unwanted calves are shot, and pigs are locked in crates and treated like breeding machines. Our London Underground adverts remind people of this unnecessary suffering and ask them to try vegan for one month, and discover a new way to eat that is better for them, better for the planet and – of course – better for animals like Rocky, Ernie and Little Eric.’
2,500 adverts will be displayed inside London’s tube carriages from 19th December until 2nd January.
Robbie is a film maker, journalist and co-founder of plantbasednews.org. He also co-created the vegan film SWINE. In his spare time he works as a campaigner teaching people about the benefits of the vegan lifestyle.
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