Translink goes ahead with ‘Go Vegan World’ ads after initial rejection

Yvonne O'Halloran

Back in January, Translink (the public body responsible for bus transport in Northern Ireland) refused to run Go Vegan World’s ads, claiming they would lead to complaints. This refusal was challenged as an unlawful interference with freedom of expression and because of this Translink has now reversed its decision- the ads are now being displayed on buses across Belfast.

One of the ads states “It’s not a personal choice when someone is killed” and features Cormac who was a bull that was rescued from the Irish dairy industry and now lives at Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary.

The second ad states “Dairy takes babies from their mothers” which reminds the public what the animals must endure just so you can have that carton of cows milk in your fridge for your tea.

Following the campaign last January when the same ads were displayed on Translink buses in Belfast, the Ulster Farmers Union (“UFU”) claimed to be outraged that the ads were displayed on Translink buses. In particular, farming lobbies objected to the use of the word ‘babies’ to describe the day old calves who are taken from their mothers in the dairy industry.

GVW Founder and Director, Sandra Higgins commented: “This a lame and speciesist objection. Humans are not the only mammals or animals to have babies. To every mother cow, her calf is her baby. To every sheep, her lamb is her baby. To every hen, her chick is her baby. The true objection of the farming lobby is the reluctance to be reminded that other animals have children and relationships and feelings as humans do and that it is wrong to breed, use and kill them for profit. The fact is our ads make them uncomfortable and ashamed of their livelihoods.”

She went on to say: “The outcome in this case means that we can continue with the essential work of Go Vegan World in NI, informing the public about the rights of other animals and directing them to our website for assistance in making changes in their lives so that they are no longer directly participating in animal exploitation.”

GVW’s Legal Counsel, Barbara Bolton stated: “A key area of our work involves using legal protections that are available to humans to advance the moral rights of non-human animals, which are not yet recognised in law, and this is an example of that work.”

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