You might be wondering why you have been seeing activists holding TVs in Nottingham city centre, showing graphic footage of animal slaughter and abuse.
These activists are from a leading animal rights group called Anonymous for the Voiceless (AV).
The group campaigns for an end to all exploitation of animals, whether that be the beef in your Sunday dinner, the scrambled eggs you have for breakfast, or the leather jacket that you are never seen without.
AV was set up in Melbourne, Australia in 2016 by two activists, Asal Alamdari and Paul Bashir, and now consists of chapters in all four corners of the globe.
The Nottingham chapter usually holds demonstrations once a month, although this is currently on hold due to restrictions on public gatherings in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
These protests take the form of ‘Cubes of Truth’, a form of action that entails four or more activists standing in a square formation while they hold TVs, which show graphic footage of animal abuse and slaughter.
Those holding the television screens also don ‘Anonymous masks’, in a nod to the rebellious protagonist of the 2005 film V For Vendetta.
During the ‘Cube’, several more activists mill around the area, talking to people who have stopped to watch the footage.
The demonstration is aimed at producing ‘pledges’, which involve members of the public committing to becoming vegan for a day, or a month, or even for life.
At one Cube of Truth in Nottingham City Centre on Saturday, February 22, activists spoke of how they had become ardent supporters of animal rights and why they were so keen to expand their ranks.
Stephanie Greatorex, a pet-sitter from Basford, said Cubes of Truth are “one of the best forms of activism” she has ever done.
The 48-year-old said: “You have some amazing conversations with strangers that you just wouldn’t have otherwise.
“This is a great way to spread the message of what animal agriculture is doing to animals, the environment, and people’s health.”
Stephanie became vegan in 2015 after taking part in Veganuary.
Veganuary is an initiative launched in January 2014 aimed at persuading non-vegans to take up a plant-based diet for a month.
In 2020, 400,000 people signed up, in comparison to 250,000 in 2019.
In 2019, the vegan lifestyle became more popular than ever.
Statistics from the Vegan Society show that the number of British people adopting a plant-based diet rocketed to a whopping 600,000 last year, quadrupling the 2014 total of 150,000.
She added: “I would never in a million years turn away from being vegan, it has made me a much better person.”
Some vegans are critical of what they view as AV’s confrontational style of protest.
In particular, their use of graphic footage of animal slaughter and abuse have been condemned by some as not being suitable in a public space, especially in the vicinity of children.
In response, Stephanie said that “people do respect us, and people do want to know more”.
“I think there’s a place for all types of activism.”
One of the pledges that AV signed up on the day was a vegetarian, but committed to becoming vegan after seeing the animal slaughter footage and having a conversation with one of the activists.
The man, who did not want to give his name, is from Saudi Arabia but studies at the University of Nottingham.
He said: “I recently became a vegetarian, but now I am going to become vegan.
“I want to use this information to help my family to become vegan.
He also thinks that AV’s style of activism is very effective.
“The videos show how animals are being killed, I personally found it very helpful.
“Everyone is welcome to join the group and I am planning to join up.”