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Credit: Christin Lola

In the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic, the biggest global crisis in a lifetime, it has been wonderful to see our celebration of humanity, together with a refocus on things that are important: the wellbeing of one and all.

Who could fail to be moved by the extraordinary heroism and bravery shown by doctors, nurses, ambulance personnel and key workers of every description. They are working all hours of the day and night looking out for us in these incredibly difficult times with great selflessness, tending to those affected. Putting themselves at risk. Keeping us safe. Keeping countries going.

My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them.

With billions of lives turned upside down, we are left searching for certainty in an uncertain world. We fear for our families and friends and for those affected by this terrible virus.

Moments of crisis can bring out the very best in us all. These dark times of lockdown, adversity and social isolation have brought a sense of community. Of being apart but more together. This time we are all in it together.

This is also true of our work at Compassion where we have been humbled by your ongoing support and good wishes. Thank you for continuing to be part of the movement to end factory farming, despite the great difficulties that lockdown brings for us all.

This Covid-19 crisis has caused many governments to act with great speed for the public good.

Governments have moved to protect people and their health, introducing life-changing measures across the board, in moves normally only associated with wartime. It shows how quickly changes can be made. In the face of an imminent threat, leaders have stepped up. Society has gone into battle with the virus, our invisible enemy.

Yet, the truth is, we’ve been locked in an almighty battle for some time now. A battle for the planet. A battle for our future health and wellbeing. A battle for a decent future for our children.

Hens, doves and ducks enclosed in cages at a wet market in the streets of Shanghai, China | Credit: MonicaNinker

And at the heart of that battle lies factory farming. The caged, cramped and confined conditions of factory farms provide the ideal breeding ground for new and more deadly strains of viruses.  Swine flu and highly pathogenic Avian flu being but two examples.

Believed to have been born out of the ill-treatment of animals caught up in wet markets and the illegal wildlife trade, Covid-19 shows strong parallels with other viruses such as Swine flu and highly pathogenic strains of Avian influenza, which stemmed from industrial animal farming.

Hens, cruelly confined in barren battery cages on a factory farm | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

Both Swine flu and Avian influenza – originating in pigs and chickens – have been devastating; believed to come from keeping living, breathing, sentient creatures in the most unnatural conditions – caged, crammed and confined. Conditions that provide the perfect breeding ground for novel and deadlier strains of disease.

Swine flu was a warning to the world. It spread far more quickly than anyone anticipated: within a week, ten countries were affected; within months, 180 countries had been hit. Within a year, according to the World Health Organisation, the virus was linked to over 18,000 deaths worldwide.

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has been linked to wildlife caught up in wet markets for food, the next one could come from an incarcerated pig or chicken. From animals ‘grown’ like mere commodities and fed on the fruits of deforestation. Either way, factory farms could be making victims of us all. Never before has there been a more potent example of how the health of animals and people are so closely interlinked. We are all in this together.

Coronavirus has served as a pertinent reminder that, for the wellbeing of people tomorrow, urgent action is needed today to end factory farming. Without ending the viral ‘hothouse’ that is keeping large numbers of animals caged, cramped and confined in conditions that allow viruses to mutate, the next pandemic could be just around the corner. 

In the war against invisible enemies, never has there been a more potent example of why protecting people means protecting animals too.

Credit: Richard Dunwoody/Compassion in World Farming

Thank you for joining us in the fight for a fairer and more compassionate world for animals. It has never been more important to come together to create great change for animals, both farmed and wild, and for each other. 

Please use this link to learn about the ways in which you can help. Thank you.


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