A new billboard campaign comparing animal death statistics with lives lost in World War II has arrived in the UK.
The design features artwork of farmed animals like cows and sheep alongside the words: “Every 30 minutes, we take as many lives as the Second World War took in 6 years. Which part of this makes you angry?” The bottom of the billboard states that 70 billion land animals, plus more than a trillion sea animals, are killed for food each year.
The billboards come from Gen V, the vegan organization behind the January 2023 London Underground ads that urged the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to go vegan. One ad used in the Sunak campaign featured the same WW2 theme, prompting thousands of comments and discussion on Reddit at the time.
‘A bold and provocative statement’
“Generation Vegan is always looking for creative ways to highlight just how much devastation the animal agriculture industry causes, whether that is to the environment, to people, or — in this case — to animals,” Gen V CEO Naomi Hallum said in a statement. “We recognise that this billboard features a bold and provocative statement but nonetheless it is true.”
The billboards are on show at Liverpool Lime Street Station and Manchester Printworks until September 7. The design is also being featured on the wall art at 100 Mare Street in Hackney in east London until September 30. It will be on the giant digital screen at Leicester Square, London, from September 8-10.
The reality of UK animal agriculture
There is a tendency in the UK for the public to view animal farming through rose tinted glasses. This feeling is exacerbated by the government and meat industry, both of whom regularly boast about “world-leading” animal welfare.
The reality of the industry, however, may shock people. Around 85 percent of land animals are raised on factory farms, where they are subjected to unnatural and often torturous conditions.
Animals are kept in cages, subjected to mutilations, and have their babies taken from them. They are then killed in the slaughterhouse. Pigs, for example, will be kept in a cage called a “farrowing crate” for up to six weeks after giving birth. Her piglets will suckle from an area next to her known as “the creep,” but she will not be able to access her babies. The cage doesn’t offer her any room to turn around. Piglets will have their tails cut off and teeth clipped without any pain relief. This is to stop them biting and injuring each other due to stress. At the slaughterhouse, they will often be killed with a high concentration of CO2 gas, which is highly aversive. The gas forms an acid on every wet surface it touches, including their lungs, throats, and eyes. Experts have stated that they “burn from the inside out.”
Mega farms keeping hundreds of thousands – and sometimes more than a million – animals at a time are on the rise in the UK. A Guardian report last year found that there are more than 1,000 of these in the country. In England, the number of these farms increased from 818 in 2016 to 944 in 2020. Most are for chickens, but many are for pigs. Cow factory farming is also on the rise in the country.