Jerome Flynn Becomes New Viva! Patron Jusí Like That!
has commitment as well as looks, leading British actor Jerome Flynn has become
patron of the animal campaigning group Viva!. Jerome joins the other talented
and caring Viva! patrons Hayley Mills, Benjamin Zephaniah, and Michael Mansfield
Most recently Jerome appeared as Tommy Cooper in the West End show
Jusí Like That but is probably better known for his macho roles in Soldier Soldier
and Badger and being part of the ever-so-slightly-less-macho singing duo Robson
and Jerome. However, his romantic melodies give no indication of his long-standing
commitment to vegetarianism, love of animals and a deep spirituality. Being raised
in the countryside Jerome established a close affinity with nature and living
things, a quality far removed from his Soldier Soldier character.
accepting his role with Viva! Jerome said: Iím delighted to be part of such a
successful and vegetarian organisation as Viva!. The thought of not being a vegetarian
is ridiculous, itís just unthinkable, like going backwards. I wonít eat meat again
for the same reason I gave it up in the first place I donít want to be a part
of all that suffering. I just want it to end and I believe everyone can make a
contribution to that, whether theyíre famous or not.
Jerome took part
in Viva!ís anti-factory farming video Not In My Name with other famous colleagues
such as Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley and Chrissie Hynde. He received a rapturous
reception after he spoke spontaneously to thousands of people in London at Viva!ís
first national rally and march to end factory farming last year. Follow your heart,
he told the crowd. Thatís exactly what he has done.
Factory Farming Rally - Saturday 13 July 2002 - In July 2002, Jerome took
part in the "End Factory Farming" rally in London. Here's a synopsis
of the event by Claudia Tarry, Campaigner for Viva! After months of hard work
and preparation, Saturday July 13th saw Viva! take its message to the streets
of London with a National End Factory Farming rally.
Over the last year,
Viva! had organised many regional marches spanning as far afield as Manchester,
Exeter and Ipswich, each of them a great success in their own right and uniting
people in their wish to end one of the worst horrors of the modern world. For
the national rally, Viva! joined forces with PETA (People for the Ethical treatment
of Animals), CIWF (Compassion in World Farming), FAWN (Farm Animal Welfare Network)
and the Green Party, who all co-sponsored the march and brought with them supporters
and members of their own.
On Saturday, to our great relief, the weather
was on our side. The sun shone and the rain clouds stayed away. People began to
congregate in Kennington Park from 11 onwards and right from the start there was
a really positive vibe in the air. Viva! had set up a stall selling End
Factory Farming t-shirts and copies of the new celebrity video "Not In
My Name", featuring Joanna Lumley, Sir Paul McCartney, Chrissie Hynde,
Jerome Flynn and many other compassionate celebrities all expressing their
personal opinion on factory farming and the love and respect for animals that
led to them going veggie.
to the speakers taking the stage, the video was shown on a large screen next to
the Viva!stand. The celebrity interviews are intercut with footage filmed
at different factory farms across the country and the heartbreaking images of
emaciated piglets squealing with starvation, chickens who had been pecked to death
and the sad eyes of exhausted dairy cows reminded us of exactly why we were there.
The speeches kicked off with Tony Wardle - Tony made an emotive speech
that fuelled everyoneís enthusiasm to get the show on the road and tell London
exactly what we all think of the cruelty. He was followed by Jerome Flynn (best
known for his role in the TV series Soldier Soldier) who made a lovely, spontaneous
speech, reminding us that we should be proud of ourselves for trying to make the
world a better place and always to remain true to our own hearts.
Turner-Webster (Pet Rescue presenter) stepped up next and described the hypocrisy
of people who complain so readily about being uncomfortable, overcrowded and tired,
without giving a second thought to the millions of animals whose lives are filled
with discomfort, lack of space and exhaustion from start to finish. Champion of
both human and animal rights, Michael Mansfield QC recognised the spirit of solidarity
shown by all the groups coming together for the day and reminded us how much more
difficult it is for the government to divide and rule if we all stand together.
Next up was Green Party member Caroline Lucas MEP. Caroline talked about
the World Trade Organisation and why international trade laws are so detrimental
to animal welfare, as practices that are outlawed in the UK may still be legal
abroad, and meat produced under those cruel conditions is imported back in to
the UK and sold in our supermarkets.
Caroline, Channel 5 presenter Anneka Svenska and her little daughter Annalise
took the stage. Anneka voiced the concerns of many veggie mums out there - how
do you explain to your child what really happens to the cows, sheep and lambs
in the fields? Speeches were also made by Dawn Carr of PETA, who reminded us that
we mustnít forget the billions of fish imprisoned in the filthy, toxic, overcrowded
waters of aqua-farms and Joyce DíSilva, of Compassion in World Farming, who reminded
us that public outrage had led to a ban (in the UK) on two of the most barbaric
tools of factory farming - veal crates and sow stalls - and urged us to keep up
the pressure on our MPs and constantly push for change. Grace Dawson, one of Vivaísmost dedicated youth contacts, gave a heartbreaking description of the horrors
each factory farmed animal endures and left us in no doubt that these barbaric
practices must come to an end. Following Grace, Holly Maguire and Charlotte England,
two incredibly devoted and industrious young activists, took to the stage. The
girls spreading their message of compassion and are proof that you are never too
young to try to make the world a better place.
By the end of the speeches
everyone was raring to go. The mountain of End
Factory Farming banners had vanished and could now be seen as a sea of
red, black and white images held high above the crowd. Over 50,000 leaflets were
distributed en route - a phenomenal amount of literature meaning that another
50,000 people would be educated along the way. The narrow park gate through which
everyone filed worked in our favour as it meant people queued up in one long line
and marched off one after the other - the sheer number of us making it a huge
stream of bodies taking over the road.
Viva!staffers got on the megaphones and the atmosphere was absolutely amazing as
everyone chanted at the top of their voices "Thereís no excuse for animal abuse!
End factory farming!" Not once did it lapse, there must have been some seriously
sore throats and lost voices by the end because the chant kept going the whole
way! Even the policemen escorting us seemed to be in relatively good spirits!
Right up the front - and quite a novelty for an animal rights march - was a fantastic
Samba band with all sorts of drums and percussion instruments, who kept up an
uplifting rhythm from start to finish. They had gone to a huge effort and really
dressed the part in gorgeous cow masks and cow print waist coats and they made
such a huge contribution to the overall feeling of high spirits and positivity
weíd like to say a massive thank you to them all!
Leading the way in front
of the band were 5 of Viva!ís junior supporters carrying a big End Factory Farming
banner - they were real stars carrying it, despite the heat and the long route,
all the way without complaining once (well, maybe once!). Along the way, cars
hooted their horns to show support for our message and people took leaflets and
stopped to watch as thousands of us marched past. Jerome Flynn, who walked with
us all the way, tapped on car windows and gave out leaflets to drivers stuck in
the traffic caused by the march. He also went in to shops along the route and
spoke to passers-by, distributing yet more info. A true star!
initially it was quite difficult to estimate numbers, as we looked at the sea
of faces and posters that seemed to stretch back interminably, it was apparent
that this was definitely one of the most well-attended, and friendly, marches
of recent years. Final estimates put the number at 3,000 - an absolutely amazing
head count that should really encourage us all. Knowing weíre not alone and that
there are many other compassionate people out there fighting for the animals and
pushing for change is such an empowering feeling. One of the most inspiring sights
was on the approach to the Houses of Parliament - protesters could be seen stretching
for seemingly miles back, down Millbank and right the way across Lambeth Bridge.
It was absolutely amazing to see just how many people had given up their day for
the animals. Despite the heat, people were still chanting and all revved up by
the time we reached Trafalgar Square. Once there, the Samba band really came into
their own and led us round, weaving in and out of bemused tourists and Londoners
alike! To see Trafalgar Square filled withEnd Factory Farming posters and people dancing to the band and really
enjoying themselves was a brilliant way to end the march.
We would like to thank Viva! for kindly giving us the information of the
rally. Photographs courtesy of Corin Jeavons.