Big Change Starts With Recognition
Big change starts with recognition.
It was encouraging then to see animal welfare being recognised as an issue of importance in China at the recent World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare in Beijing.
“To promote animal welfare is very important to us in developing sustainability,” said Zhai Huqu, president of CAPIAC, a leading agriculture organisation close to China government as he opened the conference hosted by China’s International Cooperation Committee on Animal Welfare (ICCAW) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
I was privileged to be a keynote speaker at the conference, co-hosted by Compassion, which saw more than 500 people from across China, as well as global experts, coming together to debate what needs to be done on farm animal welfare and how.
When Compassion first started working in China some 15 years ago, there wasn’t even a word or a term in the Chinese language for ‘animal welfare’.
How gratifying then, to be in Beijing last week to see Chinese speakers talking in no uncertain terms about the value of animal welfare.
“Animals need to have things that are natural to them… they need to express natural behaviours,” declared Jin Fazhong, Director of Agricultural Product Quality at the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Animal welfare is necessary in developing green agriculture,” and is “closely correlated with food safety,” said Party Secretary of National Animal Husbandry, Shi Jianzhong.
In 15 short years, animal welfare has gone from being unrecognised, to a concept that is now given credibility in government circles.
Which is welcome news as China is the largest livestock producer on the planet and home to half the world’s pigs.
Big change takes time and things aren’t going to change overnight.
But the conference gala dinner reiterated that practical changes are starting to be made. More than a dozen companies were awarded for the commitments they have already made to improving animal welfare. Compered by former TV host, now Compassion chief representative in China, Jeff Zhou, the awards part of the proceedings recognised Chinese pig and poultry producers whose collective commitments will benefit more than 200 million animals a year with better welfare.
Farmageddon in Finland
In what has been a whistle-stop week, my next stop was Helsinki, where I joined our friends at Finland’s leading animal protection organisation, Animalia, to launch the Finnish-language edition of Farmageddon.
Farmageddon galvanises recognition that factory farming is not only the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet, but is also at the centre of what’s wrong with our broken food system. That ending it is not only crucial for animal welfare, but for the well-being of people and the planet too.
Which brings me to the final leg of my latest speaking tour in the Netherlands where I was guest-speaker in the Dutch Parliament, thanks to Esther Ouwehand MP from the Dutch Party for the Animals.
I took the audience on a global safari to see some of the world’s most iconic wildlife. To gain greater recognition that factory farming is a major driver of wildlife declines worldwide. That being cruel to farm animals will rob future generations of beautiful wildlife and is ruining the very life-support system of a thriving society: our ecosystem.
Big change starts with recognition.
At Compassion, our mission is to bring about big change by showing that no good can come from factory farming.
That for animals, the planet and for future generations of people, one of the biggest changes most urgently needed is an end to factory farming.
Thank you for your support.