Anonymous: Activity and Achievements in 2016
The Campaign Against Live Export Picks Up Speed!
Our struggle against live export picked up speed in 2016. In cooperation with organizations in Israel and Australia, we hit the streets with a billboard campaign, calling to cease all shipments of calves and lambs from Australia and Europe for slaughter in Israel. We held dozens of events all over the country – protests, tablet demonstrations, signs and posters, brochure distribution and booths to collect signatures for a petition calling for the cease of the shipments.
We brought the protest to the Knesset: MK Tamar Zandberg and MK Mickey Zohar filed a bill to prohibit live export. The bill's promotion was put on hold when the Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, promised to handle the issue. The minister has expressed his dedication to the topic in the past, and in January, he even revoked the export license of an Australian ship due to a malfunction that would have made the journey even longer. Nevertheless, the scope of live export was doubled in 2016, and Anonymous is preparing to broaden the struggle.
The campaign took place in cooperation with Australian and European activists. Lyn White, campaign director for Animals Australia, visited Israel and took part in a Knesset deliberation which we initiated early in the year. European representatives visited Israel as well, and the Anonymous investigation team assisted with the preparation of an exposé for Romanian TV. The global day of action against live export took place in August, and here in Israel, we held protests in Haifa and Tel Aviv.
Yedioth Aharonot published an extensive feature on live export. The campaign was also covered on Channel 2, Ha'Aretz, Israel Today, Ma'ariv, Ynet, NRG, First Source, Globes, The Jerusalem Post, Walla!, and I24News.
Anonymous' main investigation for 2016 was in slaughterhouses in South America, causing a stir around the world. Most beef sold in Israel is imported, mainly from huge slaughterhouses in South America. Anonymous' investigation team joined up with PETA and obtained footage from slaughterhouses in 4 different countries which export kosher meat to Israel: Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. The footage shows how the slaughterhouses use the "shackle and hoist" method, which was not only banned in Israel due to its extreme cruelty, but also goes against OIE guidelines. The horrifying footage was broadcasted on Channel 10 News, in an item focused on the oversights in rabbinate supervision. Rabbi David Stav from Tzohar organization and Rabbi Shabtai Rapaport from Bar-Ilan University were shocked by this cruelty towards animals. Rabbi Rapaport expressed concern in regards to whether this method can be considered kosher.
In cooperation with our partners at "Let The Animals Live", we filed a petition with the HCJ, demanding the prohibition of meat import from slaughterhouses which use the "shackle and hoist" method. We also held a demonstration in Tel Aviv and brought the investigation's findings to a deliberation at the Knesset. At the same time, meat consumers filed a request for class action against the "Neto" company, which markets meat from the main slaughterhouse documented in the investigation. These actions were covered on Nana10, The Jerusalem Post, NRG, Be'Hadrei Haredim, Ha'Aretz, Maariv and on various radio stations. In addition, the investigation was covered in Forward and published in English and Spanish on various media, gaining approximately 2.5 million views on social media in the US and South America. Over 120 thousand people from all over the world sent protest letters to the Rabbinate and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Sion Investigation: The Dairy Industry's Hidden Slaves
Another Anonymous investigation exposed, for the first time ever, the misconduct at "Sion" – an artificial insemination company of the dairy industry. Through hidden camera, we exposed the cruel methods in which semen is extracted from the bulls, the routine beatings, the bulls who are forced to perform as "teasers" and the violent shackling to the ground to prevent resistance. The investigation was broadcasted on Channel 1's Saturday night news. Among the interviewees were MKs Sharren Haskel and Yael Cohen Paran.
Another prominent investigation exposed the misconduct at the "Milu'of" enclosures, following last year's investigation at the company's slaughterhouse. The findings were published in a large article in Yediot Aharnonot, including an interview with an employee who decided to expose the abuse.
Anonymous trains, supports and empowers activist groups all over the country: in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, Modi'in, Ashkelon and Hadera. These groups hold various activities throughout the year, including advocacy booths, public displays, lectures, demonstrations and more. During 2016 we produced approximately 400 thousand copies of various advocacy material (brochures, stickers and more) for distribution during activities such as these.
Campus activity is expanding: Anonymous founded an umbrella organization called "Animals – Students for Animals", which unites student cells all over the country in aim to promote animal rights advocacy on college campuses through cooperation between the cells and support of their initiatives. Student cells are currently active in 8 academic institutions: Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, The Hebrew University (Mt. Scopus and Giv'at Ram), The Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot, The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College and The College of Management in Rishon Le'Zion. In the near future, cells will be established in 5 other academic institutions.
Prominent outdoor activity in 2016: dozens of protests and tablet photo displays against live export; "Kulanu Kolam" (we are all their voice) – a Jewish-Arab demonstration in Haifa (alongside "The Vegan North", "The Vegan Human" and "Let The Animals Live"); A Rise for Justice – a march in Jerusalem; demonstrations against trawler fishing in front of the Knesset and the home of the Finance Minister; demonstrations and milk-outs on the Shavuot holiday; Vegan Fridays on Rothschild Boulevard; The Cube Challenge; the Earth Day event (in cooperation with "Megama Yeruka"); protests following Anonymous investigations (Sion, Milu'of and South America).
Anonymous invested in initiatives to improve activist training: a hackathon for animal rights, a spring seminar for 100 activists from all over the country, courses, advocacy workshops for local groups and a talk event (TED Anonymous). We established a new project called Activegan, for promoting strategy within the animal rights movement.
Challenge22+, our project which offers participants the opportunity to try vegan for 22 days with the professional guidance of dietitians and cooks, keeps on growing. During 2016, approximately 17,000 participants signed up for the Challenge – 9,000 for the Israeli Challenge (approx. 31,000 since it was first launched) and 8,000 for the international Challenge (approx. 19,000 since it was first launched). This year, we started special support groups for parents, soldiers, teenagers (through Whatsapp and occasional meetups), and for participants who prefer to make a gradual transition, starting with eliminating the meat from their diets. We also added information on weight loss and maintenance, for those interested.
We celebrated the second birthday of Challenge22+ with a vegan cake contest at the Nanuchka restaurant. The event was covered on the Orly and Guy show on Channel 10, among others. Reut Horn, the project's founder, was interviewed for a big article in The Marker. The event was also mentioned in Ma'ariv LaNoar, Mako, Rosh1 and others. We have recently launched Facebook pages for the Challenge in both English and Hebrew (you're welcome to follow us!).
The Knesset's Animal Rights Day took place in March, initiated by lobbyists Itzik Shmuli, Sharren Heskel, Yael Cohen Faran and Yael German. Anonymous took part in setting up the event, and the organization's investigation team received a certificate of appreciation from the lobby. A festive vegan meal was served at the Knesset cafeteria, initiated by MK Tamar Zandberg and Anonymous in cooperation with food journalist Ori Shavit, Miki Haimovich (who also received a certificate of appreciation for leading the "Meatless Monday" project), and no less than 15 MKs from most of the different parties.
Throughout the year, Anonymous and "Let the Animals Live" initiated bills, motions, parliamentary queries and deliberations on subjects including live export, the welfare of hens in the egg industry, the "shackle and hoist" method in slaughterhouses in South America and more. We joined The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel's campaign to save the Mediterranean Sea, which led to regulations which limit fishing in Michmoret's ships and during mating seasons.
Following Anonymous' investigations, Minister Ariel announced that during 2016, surveillance cameras would be installed in slaughterhouses. Sign the petition to demand that the minister keep his promise.
This year, the volunteers in our Lectures and Workshops project gave speeches to tens and thousands of teenagers in schools and youth groups all over the country. In addition to the introductory lectures, we developed an intensive experiential workshop for small groups and launched a new project: Animal Rights Week in schools. During the week, the topic is incorporated into different classes, in addition to panels, guest lectures and public displays and vegan food events. The week was very successful in the Alliance School in Haifa, Golda Meir in Petach Tivka, Ben Gurion in Ness Ziona, Mikve Israel in Holon and more. We also promoted the Ministry of Education's "Animal Day" initiative, prompting the Knesset's education board to make it a mandatory event in all schools.
This year, we put special emphasis on our work with educators. Anonymous gave lectures to hundreds of B.Ed. students and teachers, in aim to promote teaching compassion for animals and to incorporate the subject into the curriculum. In addition, we gave a lecture at the Environmental Education Conference, regarding our educational activity to raise awareness of the environmental damage caused by animal-based food industries. We distributed free kits to teachers and guides, upgraded the "Live Action" website and organized a study group for 20 teachers, who shared their own experiences with incorporating the subject into the curriculum. In order to promote conversation between educators, we continued maintaining the Teachers for Animal Rights Facebook group and opened a designated group for youth group guides.
Approximately 55 teenagers volunteer for Anonymous as part of the Social Involvement project, supervised and approved by the Ministry of Education. These dedicated volunteers played an important role in developing the organization's outdoor activity and establishing new activist groups in Haifa, Hadera, Jerusalem and more. In Haifa, the group operated in cooperation with the Haifa Municipality and the Ministry of Education (Haifa distrist).
Anonymous' Facebook page (Hebrew) reached an extensive audience, with an average of 250,924 users per day, and it is now a major tool for distribution of information about animal rights in Hebrew. In total, we published over 1,300 posts on Facebook over the last year. Videos we produced and posted on social media gained over 17 million views, and we wrote personal responses to over 2,000 questions and requests sent to us through Facebook's messaging system. In total, our posts appeared in users' newsfeeds over 208 million times!
This year, we put special emphasis on original video content, and we edited approximately 80 videos which receive wide distribution on social media, each one reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of views. The prominent videos of 2016: Consumer Deception in a Commercial for Farm Milk, a video which gained almost half a million views within a few weeks; Story Hour – on the gap between animals' lives in children's books and in reality; educational videos about live export; Being Vegan in the Supermarket; a series of testimonies by past employees of factory farms; the "Industry Secrets Exposed" series (short films about calves, chicken meat, milk, pigs, fish and eggs; videos about animal abuse in zoos and more. Join our English Facebook page
The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading nutrition organization in the world, recently published a position paper overviewing the professional literature in the field of nutrition and determining that a balanced vegan diet is suitable for all ages, offering benefits in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Due to the importance of maintaining a healthy, diverse vegan diet, Anonymous encourages private dietary counseling. During 2016, we held approximately 230 counseling sessions for families and individuals, with registered clinical dietitians who specialize in vegetarianism and veganism. We also offer Skype sessions, to provide people all over the country with solutions.
Kerem Avital, clinical dietitian and manager of the nutrition department at Anonymous, spoke at a professional conference of the Forum for Sustainable Nutrition, presenting her paper which compares the price and nutritional value of legumes and animal products, and encourages the consumption of legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans, etc.) as a cheap and accessible source of protein, iron and dietary fiber. Some of the data was published on Ynet, in an article which compares a meat-based hamburger to a veggie burger.
Anonymous' hen rescue project gave new lives to hundreds of hens from the egg industry, who gained a spacious yard and loving care after two years of imprisonment in the hell of battery cages. These hens are usually put to death by electric shock, not butchered and marketed as meat. Since the launch of the project, we managed to save about 1,000 hens, who for the first time in their lives, got to step on solid ground, spread their wings, have sand baths and build nests.
Would you like to help?
Anonymous continues to expand, and is looking for people who'd like to get involved in our activities and help us protect animals. If you wish to help us, please contact us about volunteering or about offering us a donation.