Digitising kids with chooks to supercharge one online activism campaign
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
School of Arts and Humanities
In July 2014 the peak national animal welfare organisation, Animals Australia, took on McDonalds ( colloquially known as Maccas in Australia) and other fast food companies with regards to their continued use of cage eggs. As part of their ultimately successful campaign-and what has been detailed as instrumental towards that success-Animals Australia invited young Australians to compose a personalised message asking Maccas to free chickens from cages. These messages were made into a video campaign which was sent to McDonalds and released into social media on August 23 2014. This chapter analyses Animals Australia's invitation; children's responses-specifically those made into the short video that went viral in social media; and the reception of those responses. More specifically, it includes an analysis of Animals Australia's management of children's voices, images and authenticity in the contexts of charges of propagandising and exploiting children, ideas of children's agency and rights, and the recognition that digital campaigning always needs effective hooks to capture public attention. It is argued that, although children's rights and purported agency must be qualified according to their maturity and capacity to express themselves, children need to be recognised as able to hold and express legitimate views regarding controversial social issues.