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Embargoed until: 10:30am, Sept. 14, 2000

Contact: lauren Ornelas (404) 315-8881

Sir Paul McCartney launches Viva! and says, "Join us!"

Viva!USA - a sister group of one of Britain's most effective and outspoken animal charities - is to launch in the U.S. on Thursday, September 14. A personal, videotaped message from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney will urge U.S. citizens to join Viva! He says:

"There's a whole host of things threatening the planet but government and big business don't seem to do anything about it. But you can and you don't need anyone's permission. You can help end the appalling cruelty to animals, you can save the environment, and you can improve your own health - just by going vegetarian. It couldn't be easier - so join us!"

Viva!'s first campaign - against intensive duck farming - will be headed by another celebrity, actress Hayley Mills. She will be launching secretly-filmed videotape shot inside U.S. duck farms and feeding wild ducks in Atlanta's Piedmont Park to highlight the stark difference between the two. She says:

"I have supported Viva! in England since it was launched six years ago. I have watched it notch up success after success for the animals as it has exposed one horror after another on intensive farms. I am delighted that it is bringing its professionalism and determination to the U.S. to help people go vegetarian and spread its message of care and compassion."

From nothing six years ago, Viva! has grown into one of the U.K.'s most successful national animal groups. Its 36-year-old founder, zoologist Juliet Gellatley, has been labeled "public enemy number one" by the meat industry. She was the first winner of the prestigious Linda McCartney Animal Welfare Award. Sir Paul McCartney nominated Juliet and presented her with the trophy at the star-studded Pride of Britain ceremony, attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It was also to Juliet that Sir Paul gave his first interview following the death of his wife Linda. It was syndicated worldwide. Juliet will be at the Atlanta launch alongside Viva!USA's campaigns director, lauren Ornelas.

Viva!'s first major victory in the U.K. came when it ended the sale of "exotic" meats - kangaroo, ostrich, emu, and crocodile - in all big supermarket chains. It targeted each chain in turn and over a period of three years saw all of them ditch the trade. The success brought the British ostrich industry to its knees and badly hit Australian kangaroo meat exports. It won Juliet the Australian Wildlife Protection Council Award.

Viva!'s campaign against the ritual religious slaughter of conscious animals contributed to a ban on slaughtering animals at home - often carried out at religious festivals. It also persuaded supermarkets to stop selling halal meat from animals which had not been stunned prior to slaughter.

More recently, its exposé on duck farming in the U.K. has again led to capitulation by all the major supermarkets as they cleared their shelves of cruelly de-billed Muscovy duck. Top people's store Harrods of London has withdrawn all factory-farmed duck meat.

Viva!'s philosophy is that meat production is cruel, it is a major destroyer of the global environment, contributes to impoverishing the developing world, and promotes degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. By building a team of over 100 trained school speakers, it is taking this information into schools across Britain.

Juliet Gellatley says: "U.S. corporations now acknowledge that British and European concerns about animal welfare are influencing U.S. consumers. By coming to the U.S. we will accelerate that trend."

Sir Paul McCartney adds: "Viva! is getting these messages across in Britain but if we are to stop trashing the world, it's here in the U.S.A. that the changes have to come as well."

For Beta or VHS video of Paul McCartney's message to the U.S. and exposé on U.S. duck farming, copies of the duck report, photos, and Paul McCartney's full text, contact lauren Ornelas at (404) 315 8881.