July 30, 2014
Campaign Launch: Déjalas Mover/Let Them Move
The following is an interview with HSI Farm Animals Deputy Director Elissa Lane about the launch of HSI's Déjalas Mover/Let Them Move campaign in Mexico.
When did you first get the idea for the campaign?
We first thought of the idea for Déjalas Mover about six months ago. We’d been working with companies in Mexico and found that they often underestimate the importance of animal welfare to purchasing choices. We wanted to make it clear that consumers really do care about the way animals are treated in food production.
We knew that a good way to get people talking about this issue quickly was through celebrities, since they can give widespread visibility to the cause. We also wanted local restaurants, NGOs, and producers to join this movement, so we invited those that already were cage-free, or worked to improve conditions for farm animals, as well as new ones, to join us.
We had a very good response—everyone agreed that keeping animals in cages for their whole lives is unacceptable, and offered to help by joining the campaign.
What country does it focus on and why?
The goal of Déjalas Mover is to get rid of battery cages and gestation crates in Mexico. There is legislation in Canada to phase out gestation crates, and many U.S. states are also banning or restricting confinement in battery cages and gestation crates, but there is no such legislation in Mexico.
Also, many of the multinational food companies that have adopted cage and crate-free purchasing policies in Canada and the U.S. have not yet done so in Mexico. We’re working with all of these companies to make sure that they adopt the same animal welfare policies in Mexico.
Finally, Mexico is the #1 consumer of eggs globally, and one of the most important pig-producing countries in Latin America.
What are the various pieces of the campaign?
Déjalas Mover has many campaign elements:
- A pledge for consumers to sign
- A video of celebrities talking about why they say no to cages
- Social media share graphics, including a collage of celebrities jumping to show their freedom to move around, plus an individual share graphic for each celebrity. All of our supporters share campaign photos and updates through Facebook and Twitter.
- Pages on our website showing all participating celebrities with quotes, and all supporting food companies, NGOs and producers.
- We held a press conference on July 22 in Mexico City. More than 50 reporters attended, and two of our celebrity supporters, Gabriela de la Garza and Fabian Robles, participated and spoke about the issue and their involvement with our campaign. In the future, we will send out press releases to announce updates. Stay tuned!
All of these help us reach a wide audience with our message.
How did you find celebrities to participate?
We started by emailing or calling with information on HSI and the campaign. We also met with them in person to discuss everything in more detail. They were always very pleasant and excited about helping.
How about approaching companies and restaurants?
Usually, we send them a very friendly email, introducing ourselves and HSI, and saying something nice about their existing animal welfare/sustainability/corporate social responsibility programs, to show them that improved animal welfare is already in line with their company’s values/mission.
We explain what battery cages and gestation crates are, and that there is already a global trend away from these confinement systems.
We talk briefly about all of the restaurants, multinational food companies and producers both in the country and globally that have adopted cage and crate-free policies, along with relevant legislation, and let them know that their customers also oppose cages. Then we ask them for an in-person meeting.
After the first meeting, we send a thank you letter, summarizing what was discussed, and then continue to follow up until the company adopts a formal cage or crate-free policy. We persuade them by telling them what’s in it for them, for example, public praise in the media. We show them that adopting animal welfare policies is good for business.
What have been the results of the campaign so far (one week post-launch)?
More than 50 media outlets attended the press conference, and reporters have produced dozens of stories on the campaign. Thousands of people are sharing our content on social media, and more than 44,000 have signed our petition in just one week. We’ll mention all of this to food retail companies and producers when we meet with them, to demonstrate that consumers oppose these cruel practices.
Any interesting anecdotes to share from along the way?
One funny thing was that we always tried to carry out the photo shoots quickly, because we know the celebrities are very busy, but some actually didn’t want to leave because they liked our vegan snacks too much! Our team has had a wonderful time working with our supporting celebrities. As soon as we told them about battery cages and gestation crates, and showed them pictures and videos, they were completely committed to supporting HSI’s Déjalas Mover campaign to get rid of this cruelty in Mexico.