2023 was one of our biggest years to date. Let's take a look at what we've achieved in the past 12 months.

2023 was one of our biggest years yet!

At Animal Justice Project, we have achieved a huge amount in the past 12 months, including FIVE investigation releases, two prosecutions, mass demonstrations and protests, and more. 2023 has been an impactful year; let's look back at what we have achieved.

Bickmarsh Hall farm

We launched the year with our undercover investigation at Bickmarsh Hall farm, a pig 'mega-farm' in Warwickshire, which reached national media, including ITV News and the Mirror. Labelled a 'Red Tractor Assured nightmare', this site was home to some of the most dire conditions we have ever witnessed in our undercover work. Sows were trapped in crates for weeks at a time as they gave birth and desperately tried to nurse their piglets, 'finisher' pigs were kept in crowded, filthy sheds, and individuals were left to suffer in tremendous pain before being shot. The nightmarish findings spurred over 70 activists to rally outside the farm in protest, which was featured in ITV News. Through the media alone, we reached millions of people to show them where their bacon really comes from.

House of Parliament projection

In spring, we headed to London to pressure the government to make the 'Kept Animals Bill' inclusive to all species and for all purposes. We projected a huge message onto the Houses of Parliament, alongside our pig protestors, with the flaws of the at-the-time live exports Bill. We highlighted that 96% of animals who are exported from the UK each year, on average, will receive NO protection whatsoever. This includes large animals like pigs who are flown to China for breeding and day-old chicks, ducklings and turkeys who are exported as far as Southeast Asia. No birds whatsoever will be included in the proposal.

A massive thank you to our amazing supporters! Your contributions have empowered us to make a significant impact, and we couldn't have achieved our goals without you. To continue driving positive change for animals, please visit our website for various ways to support us in 2024! - Sara, Development Coordinator

Parliament protest

In summer, the 'Kept Animals Bill' was scrapped by Rishi Sunak's government. We launched into action, calling a snap protest outside of Parliament to demand that Sunak reinstates it. Our sheep protestors adorned blue smoke flares, banners and placards in Westminster after this colossal betrayal against animals. Since then, a new Bill, the Animal Welfare (Livestock Exports) Bill, has been proposed but has the same vast loopholes, which will still see large animals exported for breeding and birds remaining unprotected.

Two prosecutions

In spring, we saw TWO prosecutions as a result of our investigative work. In 2021, we launched our Dairy Still Kills campaign, which highlighted the buying, selling and killing of young male dairy calves, rounded up from farms and markets, unwanted by the industry. We secretly filmed inside a calf dealer's yard and an abattoir, capturing these young animals' heart-wrenching final moments. Over two years later, we gained what little justice we could for these babies, and Whittall of Oaklands Livestock Centre and the workers and owners of G & GB Hewitt slaughterhouse were prosecuted. Fines exceeded £20,000 and included a ban on keeping cows and calves. Oaklands Livestock Centre shut down shortly after our nationwide exposé of the abuse they inflicted upon the calves in their 'care'.

“In 2023, our online community has been a driving force in our fight for animal liberation. With their help, we have reached tens of millions of people, inspired countless others to join and support our work, and they have taken action over 348K times for animals.” - Tom, Social Media Manager

Morrisons' slaughterhouse investigation

We infiltrated one of Morrisons' abattoirs in Spalding with an undercover worker; our findings shocked the nation and were featured in media outlets, including ITV News, the Daily Mail and The Times. Through hidden cameras, we caught the Morrisons workers beating terrified pigs, sick, lame and injured pigs transported for slaughter, dead pigs arriving on lorries, an electric prod being used to shock scared pigs into moving, pigs forced into a gas chamber gondola and lame cows being slaughtered. What was utterly disturbing was that the Official Veterinarians present at the time of filming did not step in during these torturous events. They failed to act as workers breached legislation. All of this was in full view of the abattoir's own CCTV, reiterating that mandatory surveillance in slaughterhouses has done nothing to 'protect' animals at their time of killing. It creates a smokescreen for companies to push 'good welfare' propaganda.

Successful pressure campaigning

We received further fantastic news, which resulted from our pressure campaigning. In 2022, we exposed the killing of day-old goats kids at a Delamere Dairy farm in West Yorkshire, a UK-first. With such horrific investigation findings, alongside widespread severe lameness and goats being beaten by workers, we launched a pressure campaign against Suma Wholefoods. The 'ethical' vegetarian wholesaler prides itself on stocking predominantly plant-based products and those from 'higher welfare' farms. Through ongoing direct communications and online actions over six months, Suma Wholefoods rewrote their entire animal welfare policy. They decided to onlystock organic dairy, which resulted in ALL Delamere Dairy products being dropped, alongside many other dairy products. Organic dairy is no better, as shown in our Bath Soft Cheese investigation, and we hope that Suma Wholefoods makes the actual ethical decision to only stock plant-based foods.

Animal transportation bus stop ad campaign

We reached 500,000 people with bus stop adverts across six major cities! The ads, which went up in Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leeds, Salford, Wolverhampton and the district of Medway, Kent, depicted messages like 'Their next stop ends in tragedy' and 'This is a one-way ticket to hell'. We aimed to pull on the heartstrings of commuters in the hopes that they would relate to animals in transport whilst they were about to board transport of their own. Of course, the two journeys could never parallel one another.

"2023 has unfolded as a sensational year for our undercover investigations—a mass of stories that has shaken the public to its core, particularly concerning pigs and laying hens. Our brave undercover investigators have placed themselves on the frontline under the cover of darkness to unveil the harsh realities of animal agriculture in major UK media outlets, captivating the attention of millions. Since the inception of our undercover work in 2019, our investigations have evolved into a force to be reckoned with. Yet, our mission extends far beyond the media; we meticulously follow each exposé with innovative campaigns that have not only compelled major retailers to revise their policies this year but have also led to prosecutions. In 2023 you witnessed our unprecedented unveiling of a major pig slaughterhouse lairage, and the brutal 'depopulation' of laying hens—a shocking spectacle that will etch itself onto the minds of consumers for a long time. But brace yourself for 2024 - which I promise you, will be our biggest year yet." - Claire, Director and Founder

We launched 'ROTTEN' to tackle the egg industry

The second half of 2023 primarily focused on our The Foul Truth campaign. Having never worked on eggs before, we launched 'ROTTEN', an industry-wide targeted campaign to dispel pro-egg propaganda. In phase one, we released an investigation inside an 'enriched' caged egg farm owned by Bird Bros who supply supermarkets such as Lidl. An undercover worker showed the bleak conditions of the crowded cages, wire mesh floors and sick and dead hens, which littered the cages.

Soon after, we launched phase two, secretly filming the depopulation of end-of-lay hens with another undercover worker. Infiltrating AD Harvey, a specialist catching company, we filmed the callous process of emptying hens from sheds in a UK-first. There was a massive splash across national media, including the Daily Mail, the Metro, the Express, the Mirror, ITV News and TV. We spurred into action, launching a petition directed at RSPCA Assured, an assurance scheme that accredited AD Harvey, to pressure them into dropping the violent company. Alongside the petition, we held online actions and protested outside AD Harvey's slaughterhouse in Norfolk. Just one week later, their accreditation was stripped! This will significantly impact the company financially, as around one-third of laying hens in the UK are RSPCA Assured, and this catching company can no longer gain contracts at these sites.

Freshers fair tour across Sussex

With a large number of findings and information under our belts, we went on tour across university freshers' fairs in Sussex, talking to students about eggs and, most importantly, why they should be vegan. A large proportion of those who ate eggs said that they opted for 'free-range' eggs as they are kinder, but after seeing our footage and resources, they soon agreed that there is no such thing as an 'ethical' egg. It was brilliant to also meet so many vegans on tour, which gave us hope for a vegan future. Across the week, we gave out over 600 samples of delicious egg-free cake kindly donated by Just Love.

“In 2023, our new campaign, Rotten, exposed the Foul Truth about the UK egg industry. We highlighted the suffering of caged hens, achieved a UK-first by capturing the vicious depopulation of end-of-lay hens and pressured RSPCA Assured to drop the cruel catching company. Keep your eyes peeled for part three, launching in spring 2024.” - Tayana, Campaigner

Nationwide action for calves

We collaborated with grassroots animal rights groups and activists across the UK for our annual Dairy Still Kills outreach. Going from just a single day, we launched this year with a whole month of events! Over 20 groups participated across England, Scotland and Wales to encourage consumers to ditch dairy and choose vegan. It was fantastic to see so many people across the nation coming together for one common cause, and the outreach events looked brilliant. We sent out over 25,000 pieces of literature, including door-dropper packs for those not attending events. A huge thank you to everyone who took part in our biggest-ever Dairy Still Kills action for calves.

What a year! We’ve projected onto the Houses of Parliament, toured Fresher’s fairs, seen two prosecutions, released four investigations, held our biggest-ever Dairy Still Kills action to date, and so much more. We couldn’t have been so impactful in 2023 without your support, so thank you. - Ayrton, Campaigns Manager

Gressingham Foods undercover investigation

As we drew the year to a close, we released our FIFTH undercover investigation of the year, featured in the Independent. We returned to Gressingham Foods for the third time, exposing the vicious process of catching ducks for slaughter. Previously, we have shown the filthy, sodden conditions that Gressingham's ducks have to live in inside their vast sheds and the violence within their slaughterhouse. We caught Keyo workers, 'specialists' in the depopulation of birds, on camera grabbing birds by their necks and strangling them. Others were kicked and thrown before being rammed into plastic crates. The duck industry has been in decline since we first began investigating it in 2019, decreasing by one-third in the same period. It is only a matter of time before this abhorrent industry is ended, and we will not stop campaigning until it does.

We are incredibly proud of the work that we have achieved in 2023, but we couldn't have been this impactful without your unwavering support. A HUGE thank you to each and every one of you who read our emails and blogs, shared our social media content, signed our petitions, attended our protests and much more. Your donations keep us going and create a better and just world for everyone.

As always,

For the animals.

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