Major ad campaign launches

19th February 2012

Two provocative television commercials cleverly highlighting the plight of factory farmed animals will be launched tomorrow, for immediate screening on free to air television channels as community service announcements (CSA’s).

The CSA’s have been produced by a coalition of media and creative professionals for Voiceless, the animal protection institute. With Academy Award winning producer, Emile Sherman, mentoring the creative development, the advertisements deliver hard-hitting messages about the reality of pig and chicken production in Australia.

Renowned actor and Voiceless Ambassador, Hugo Weaving, provides a voiceover for the commercials and is advocating their message of animal protection. “This year billion of animals worldwide and 500 million in Australia will suffer lives of pain and distress in factory farms. If I treated a dog the way pigs and chickens are treated on these farms, I'd likely be prosecuted” said Mr Weaving.

One CSA reveals how pregnant pigs are confined in sow stalls, small cages barely larger than the animal’s body, while the other exposes the health problems suffered by many meat chickens, which are crammed into sheds with up to 60,000 birds.

The campaign, Factory Farming: the truth is hard to swallow, was initiated by Dr Charlie Teo, member of the Voiceless Council who delivered the 2012 Australia Day Address. “I wanted to help Voiceless talk to consumers through the captivating language of film and help to lift the veil of secrecy that hides factory farming” Dr Teo said.

The CSA’s are supported by a street poster campaign in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, online advertisements across the ninemsn network and an interactive microsite that takes users behind the closed doors of a factory farm. They will also capitalise on the results of a consumer survey released by Voiceless today.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected Australians was commissioned by Voiceless and conducted in late 2011. It revealed that

  • 82% believe sow stalls should be banned in Australia, when informed how the devices are used and the effect they have on pregnant pigs.
  • 80% think battery cages should be banned in Australia, when told of the cruelty they inflict on layer hens.
  • 4 out of 5 (83%) Australians would support laws that ensure food animals have access to the outdoors, other animals and enough space and natural materials to carry out their natural behaviours.
  • More than 2/3 of Australians (67%) consider animal welfare to be “important” or “very important” when making decisions about what food to buy, while 25% consider it to be “somewhat important”.
  • 90% think food should be labelled by its method of production.

Emile Sherman said, “We are not out to shock people with these ads. We simply want the Australian public to think about where their food comes from, and to look further into factory farming.”

Voiceless is not prescriptive when it comes to eating meat or going vegetarian or vegan – it aims to equip people with the information necessary to make informed decisions.

“Ultimately, each of us must respond to animal cruelty in our own way and the response is often a journey, where the starting point is learning the truth that lies behind your fork,” said Dana Campbell, Voiceless CEO.

The CSA’s were directed by David Colin, who last year was nominated for a Young Director Award at Cannes, and produced by Tom Gibson of Film Construction and freelancer Stephanie Beattie, with post production by Method Studios.  Music was created by Sound Reservoir and Rafael May Music.  The street posters were photographed by Sean Izzard and produced by Cameron Gray of Pool, with creative support from Lee Turner of Cream Studios.