People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] has launched the UK’s first full vegan subway station takeover on New Year’s Eve.
The campaign aims to encourage commuters to pledge to help animals, protect the environment, and get healthy by going vegan in 2017.
PETA UK is urging people everywhere to show compassion to animals by skipping meat-based meals, and choosing humane and healthy vegan fare instead.
We caught up with PETA UK Director Elisa Allen, and asked her a few questions about the campaign.
Tell us about how the campaign came about, who designed it, and what inspired you guys to do it?
“People are constantly bombarded with advertisements for meat products,” said Allen.
We wanted to counteract those by sharing a message of compassion and reminding commuters that cows, pigs, and chickens are not steaks, burgers, or nuggets – but rather living, feeling beings.
Cows, chickens, and pigs are no different from human beings when it comes to feeling pain and fear and valuing their lives.
Did you plan for it to appear on the tube shortly after Veganuary’s posters on the London underground?
We’ve had the campaign planned for several months and were thrilled to see Veganuary’s posters splashed across tube carriages – there’s no such thing as having too many pro-vegan adverts!
Why Clapham Common station – of all stations in London?
The location was chosen based on its footfall and availability in the New Year.
Is it possible to measure the success of a campaign like this?
As with many of our campaigns, we’ll be looking for a spike in the number of requests for our free vegan starter kit.
The animal agriculture industries are spending billions on advertising, how can we ever hope to compete?
It’s hard to reach many people by handing out leaflets, so out of necessity, social causes must be creative – this is why PETA often uses humour, sex, and other attention-grabbing tactics to reach a populace that is bombarded with paid advertising from industries that sell wares that harm animals.
Unlike our opposition, which is mostly composed of wealthy industries and corporations, PETA must rely on getting free publicity through media coverage, which is why we make our actions colorful or controversial.
While our ads are always honest, we believe that it’s sometimes necessary to shake people up or make them do a double-take in order to initiate discussion, debate, and questioning of the status quo – with the worthy aim that they’ll ultimately change a cruel, if unconscious, habit or take some compassionate action to help animals.
In New York last summer, there was the largest ever vegan billboard in Times Square. Do you think it would ever be possible to get a pro-vegan advert in say, Trafalgar Square?
I don’t see why not. And even if it’s not a billboard advert, it’s always possible to spread a pro-vegan message in Trafalgar Square.
In fact, PETA was there a few months ago roasting a “dog” beneath a banner proclaiming ‘If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a pig? Try vegan’ (the realistic-looking roast ‘dog’ was made from seitan).
The action not only grabbed the attention of passers-by, but also made headlines around the world.
Last year, there was a huge number of pro-vegan adverts popping up all over the world. Do you see this trend increasing in the future and where do you think we will be in 10 years, when it comes to public vegan adverts?
There’s a vegan revolution in progress, as a record number of people are ditching animal flesh in favor of plant-based foods.
And as more and more people ditch animal-derived ingredients and materials, we’ll continue to see pro-vegan adverts, not just from organizations like PETA, but also from companies that want to tap into the ever-growing vegan market.
The campaign takes over from the success of the 2,500 poster effort by the Veganuary team in December 2016.