10 results we achieved in the first three months of 2021

Simone Montuschi

Our 2021 kicked off with some very significant results. Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we have not slowed down and have continued to do what we are best at: carrying out investigations and campaigns, as well as asking the relevant institutions to protect all animals. Without exception.

1. Veganuary: over half a million participants in 2021!

© Essere Animali

The 2021 edition of Veganuary was a real triumph with 582,538 people registered worldwide and over 30,000 in Italy alone. The world’s largest vegan initiative surpassed last year’s record of 400,000 participants and Italy ranked seventh globally, while Milan was the fourth city in the world in terms of the number of participants after London, Santiago and Bogotà.

2. Our investigation into farms raising pigs for PDO prosciutto on Tg1

The evening edition of Tg1 on 24 January showed ferocious violence on two farms raising pigs for PDO prosciutto that we visited. The farms are located in the province of Verona and Pavia and breed pigs for the production of Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto San Daniele. In addition to cruel behaviour, our investigators also documented various irregular activities.

3. Mink in distress: legal proceedings against the owner of a farm in Galeata (FC)

On 3 February, legal proceedings were initiated against the owner of a mink farm located in Galeata (FC). Following our complaint in 2018, the ‘Carabinieri Forestali’ inspected the farm, one of the few mink farms that remained active in our country, and imposed two administrative sanctions of around 3,000 euros due to animal welfare violations.

4. Mink farming activities suspended throughout 2021

Manifestazione a Roma di Essere
© Essere Animali

In addition to coordinating online protests with thousands of participants, on 13 February we went to the Ministry of Health in Rome to ask – together with LAV – for a ban on the farming of minks used for fur production. A few days later, Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed an order suspending the activities of these farms throughout Italy for the whole of 2021.

5. Italian supermarkets say no to Foie Gras

The supermarket chain Iper la Grande i also joined our #ViaDagliScaffali [OffTheShelves] campaign, launched in 2015 with the aim of urging major retailers to stop selling foie gras. This major distribution chain was the last in Italy to still sell this product. Thanks to the efforts of many people, 12,800 supermarkets belonging to the main brands of major retailers have chosen to stop selling this cruel product.

6. With our contribution, Rai 3 showed the truth about the issues behind animal exploitation

Our investigation team took journalist Sabrina Giannini inside various mink farms. The footage aired during the February 27 episode of her programme, Indovina chi viene a cena (Guess who’s coming to dinner), dedicated to zoonotic diseases and the meat production system, and was seen by more than 1 million people.

7. A more plant-based diet for Stellantis: another success for MenoPerPiù

© Stellantis

The Stellantis automotive group — which brings together automotive companies such as Peugeot, FIAT, Alfa Romeo, and many others — participated in our free webcast on the relationship between food, health and environmental sustainability. Stellantis collaborated with MenoPerPiù [LessForMore] to create Think Healthy, a training course aimed at all employees of their Italian plants, available online on the company intranet portal.

8. Continuing our commitment to animal protection in Europe

At the end of February, together with other European organisations, we asked the European Commission to oppose Amendments 171 and 72 which provide for unfair restrictions on the designation of plant-based products. In March, we joined a major campaign launched by Eurogroup for Animals against the exploitation of wild animals in circuses and for a ban throughout the European Union.

On 15 March, we launched No Animal Left Behind on our channels. This campaign, coordinated by Eurogroup for Animals, calls for a complete review of the European legislation on breeding, transport and slaughter.

Together with a global network led by Compassion in World Farming, we also decided to support an appeal to the Scottish government to call for a moratorium on the expansion of salmon farming in the region. Scotland is the world’s third largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon, and Italy is among the top ten destination markets in Europe. In 2019, our country imported a total of 878.4 tons of Scottish salmon.

9. Thirty hours on a truck: the terrible transport of lambs for Easter

At the end of March we travelled 2,500 km on motorways, from the border between Italy and Slovenia to Tuscany, to monitor the conditions under which lambs are transported to the slaughterhouse for the Easter period. We followed several lorries from Eastern Europe and in some cases ended up reporting irregularities to the competent authorities. Four of the trucks we followed were stopped by the police, two of which were fined 1300 and 3000 euros.

10. Hundreds of people joined our #IoNonLoMangio campaign

This year, several hundred people decided to participate in our #IoNonLoMangio (#IDon’tEatIt) campaign and ask people to stop the cruel tradition of eating lamb for Easter. A custom that, like so many other traditions of the past, can change. This was demonstrated by the fact that almost 10,000 people decided to download our Easter vegan menu, created by Francesca Militello who runs the blog Pasticciando con la Franca.

More news on the horizon

These were the 10 most important results we achieved in the first three months of 2021. But there’s more: we are about to start a collaboration with an important Italian magazine to supplement those we already have with LifeGate and Il Fatto Quotidiano. In addition, we will soon be launching a major investigation that reveals what lies behind a product that bears the Made in Italy ‘label of excellence’ and are already working on the new edition of Settimana Veg (Veg Week), which will take place in May. Stay tuned!