27 Feb A New Future for Food and Farming
Perhaps it is only fitting that on World NGO Day, I am able to share with you our new, challenging and dynamic five-year plan aimed at achieving game-changing impact for farm animal welfare.
To my mind, it has never been so important.
Over the last half century, the industrialisation of the countryside has led to farm animals disappearing from the land to be caged, crammed and confined in factory farms, which have a devastating impact on animal welfare. The ill treatment of billions of farm animals is inextricably linked to the demise of farmland birds, bees and butterflies as well as all sorts of iconic creatures not associated with farming at all: penguins, polar bears, elephants, jaguars, orangutans and rhinos.
Compassion in World Farming has long railed against this dangerous form of farming.
Founded by a dairy farmer fifty years ago, I am extremely proud that we have driven reforms of some of the worst excesses of the factory farm regime; achieving bans on barren battery cages and veal crates in Europe, as well as gaining legal recognition of animals as sentient beings, capable of experiencing suffering or joy.
We are and will continue to be a strong, determined and growing voice for farm animal welfare globally, instrumental in driving change, and I am in no doubt that the need for change has never been more urgent.
However, as our founder did, we also want to be better at harnessing the power of showing how factory farming harms people and the planet too.
We want to see a wholesale shift to post-industrial agriculture where factory farming is replaced with a compassionate, regenerative food system. Land-based, sustainable alternatives, such as pasture-fed, free range or organic, provide better lives for animals, healthier food and help to save the environment. New and developing technologies, like ‘clean’ meat from cell cultures, hold real possibilities for a new food culture, producing meat without slaughtering animals
Our message is simple: By ending factory farming, we will bring better lives to billions of farm animals, save wildlife from extinction, and leave a planet worth having as a legacy for our children.
Yet our challenges are many, which is why we all need to be stronger, smarter and more focused than ever.
This is why our new five-year Strategic Plan contains a really ‘big idea’ for changing the game: to press for an international agreement on ending factory farming. Through the United Nations, this would set targets for national governments in moving toward a better, more humane food system. These would build on thinking already developed internationally through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), spearheaded by the UN.
Factory farming is what is wrong in our food system, and is the very thing holding society back from a humane and sustainable existence.
I urge you to join us and help make our vision a reality.
By exposing factory farming for what it is, I am confident we will achieve the biggest impact, the greatest change for the largest number of animals. And in so doing, we will bring a better future for people too.