My Love of Animals
Guest Blog by Irene Williams, former trustee, Compassion in World Farming
For us at Compassion, the 15th November is always a day to reflect on the legacy of our founder, Peter Roberts MBE, who passed away on this day in 2006.
Peter was a visionary, someone who could see that cruelty to farmed animals was having such an effect on all of us; damaging our health, devastating the environment and undermining our ability to feed people in the future – concerns we now recognise in the word, ‘sustainability’.
He was someone who quietly went about inspiring people to get involved, to do their best, to help end factory farming.
Our former trustee, 93-year-old Irene Williams from South Yorkshire, was one of those people inspired by Peter; here Irene recalls how she got involved:
Reflections by Irene Williams:
I had two loving parents who did their best to support our family and manage our needs. Our diet included meat and for a long time I did not worry about that. However, as I grew older, I became so much more conscious of the world around me and in particular the cruelty of animals.
Being passionate about them, I joined the RSPCA when I was 15 years old, in 1941 and helped out at the local branch in Barnsley, in any way that I could.
I have always hated cages and having seen a dreadful local zoo where wild animals were confined and caged, I also became particularly concerned about the use of wild animals in circuses. I felt such empathy for the sentient beings forced to entertain humans. My brother had also told me about the hunting of animals for sport and that was hard to take as well. I am a miner’s child, I lived in a ‘pit house’, so I know all about hardship, poverty and inequality.
When I think about farm animals, I feel that people see them grazing, apparently contented in fields and they don’t pause to think about the food production process or even the vast majority of animals that are factory farmed and never see the sun or a blade of grass. Few people will ever witness the anguish when they are separated from their mothers when young, which is an inevitable part of meat and dairy production. Together with the slaughter process, it causes much grief and pain, even in the best of farming.
In 1967, Peter Roberts founded Compassion in World Farming and I joined the organisation the same year. It was a turning point for me. I lived in Havant with my husband and son and remember well, travelling to London to attend Compassion in World Farming meetings and joining many demonstrations. It was so good to meet like-minded people and I learned a lot.
Peter Roberts was, and still is, my hero.
Peter worked so hard for farm animals, most of which never see the light of day and are denied freedom of movement. Battery hens, broilers, quail, ducks and turkeys, pigs, dairy cows, calves and more, all suffer unbelievable cruelty during the whole of their short lives and savage deaths.
Peter was also a man ahead of his time. He understood that working for farm animal welfare would not be easy and he used to say to me ‘do the best you can’. I have often thought of those words over the years, because it surely it gives us all some comfort when we are standing up for animals, to know that we can do no more, than our very best to protect them.
At Compassion, we see our role as helping you, our wonderful supporters, to ‘do the best you can’ by providing ways to get involved in game-changing campaigns to end the cage age or live animal exports.
If you haven’t already, please do sign up to our newsletter with action alerts to get the latest in how you can help end factory farming and bring about a better, more compassionate world for animals, people and the planet.