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A climate change protest duo have used hand sanitiser as a graphic means of illustrating the negative impact of society’s current high meat consumption.
The activists recently took to the streets of south London, swapping hand sanitiser for fake blood outside of apparently unsuspecting butcher’s shops and fast food takeaways. The resulting display is enough to put even the most staunch of carnivores off their dinner.
Speaking with UNILAD, the campaigners introduced themselves as Jane and Gaby, recent creative advertising students from The School of Communication Arts 2.0. And it would appear their actions are already hitting home with some surprised shoppers.
One video shared by the @handsinitiser Twitter account shows a woman attempting to wash her hands before heading into a KFC. However, instead of soap, her hands were left bright red as the grim liquid pumped from the ‘Hand Sinitiser’ into her palms.
The woman, who could be seen wearing a yellow jacket, later told @handsinitiser that she was ‘initially shocked and confused’, and understandably so, but then went back to have a proper look:
As I walked away I noticed that the branding and logo on the station had been tampered with and so I came back to read it again. I can’t say that I’ll never eat meat again but knowing that eating less of it could save 8 million lives in the future has really made me think about cutting down.
In one of a series of new tweets, the pair revealed they had also managed to make one McDonald’s customer think twice about their meat consumption, writing:
Our first victim left stunned after we stained his hands and conscience after coming out of McDonalds. We asked him; would he consider eating less meat? He said ‘I’ll definitely think twice before reaching for a Big Mac’. #HandSinitiser #CaughtRedHanded #EatLessMeat #COP26
However, another person the group managed to chase down was decidedly less than thrilled about this tactic, with Jane and Gaby telling UNILAD that ‘he was pissed off and that he was going to report us’.
Although certainly an unpleasant thing to happen when you’re out and about on your lunch hour, Jane and Gaby are pushing people to sit up and think about the serious impact their food habits are having on the world around them, and their tactics are nothing if not memorable.
These creative campaigners were prompted to take action after a government research paper, which recommended a widespread shift in dietary habits towards plant-based meals, was deleted swiftly after publication.
The document was reportedly published in error, and, as told to BBC News by the Department for Business, had been intended to show academic research rather than influence official government policy.
Jane and Gaby told UNILAD:
We thought that if the government aren’t going to take the climate crisis seriously and the role that the consumption of meat plays in this, then we would have to get the general public to take notice.
We thought hand sanitising stations were perfect as it taps into a current every day behaviour and also doubles up as a metaphor to show that the responsibility of eating less meat is in everyone’s individual hands.
A copy of the since-deleted paper, shared by New Economics Foundation researcher Alex Chapman, suggests taxing retailers of ‘high-carbon foods’ as a means of incentivising plant-based diets. It also advises ‘building support for a bold policy’, for example, taxing cattle producers.
Acknowledging that an ‘unsophisticated meat tax would be highly regressive’, the paper goes on to state that the British government could get the public used to eating more meatless food via its spending at hospitals, prisons, schools, courts and military facilities.
While recognising that ‘asking people to directly eat less meat and dairy is a major political challenge’, the research notes that ‘smaller asks’ could well be possible, such as encouraging members of the public to learn just one new plant-based recipe.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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