One Health, One Welfare, One Planet

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As I sit down to write this end of year message, I reflect on the most challenging and tragic of years.

Yet I also reflect on the essence of what makes us human and connects us all around the world – our ability to have faith, our ability to hope and our ability to love.

It has been a year like no other.

Here at Compassion in World Farming we’ve had our ups and our downs, but we feel very fortunate that we are all healthy and safe and that we have the continued support and encouragement of our wonderful trustees, patrons and, of course, supporters.  During these troubling times, we know it is more important than ever to remind the world, that protecting humanity, means protecting animals too.

We do this through each and every animal’s life that we touch.

Remembering the Positives

In this extraordinary year, I feel hugely proud to be able to say that our commitment to end factory farming remains undiminished, despite the pandemic challenges.  

We have worked tirelessly to reach national and international leaders through UN Summits and Political Forums, and conferences in the EU, US, Africa and China. As a result, we have gained greater recognition for the need for a Global Agreement to end factory farming. To guide the investment decisions of financial institutions away from factory farming, we launched the Farm Animal Minimum Standards Initiative and we have formed a unique partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, to identify changes to agriculture and food systems that would reverse their serious, negative impacts on global biodiversity.

We have also been overwhelmed by how many people have reached out and, despite the barriers of lockdowns and social distancing, to help us in transforming the lives of farm animals, achieving the following remarkable results:

  • Our European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) against caged farming closed in September 2019. 170 organisations across 28 countries secured 1,397,113 verified signatures – the largest ever ECI for animals.
  • At our first food industry Fish Forum, we launched flagship reports on fish sentience and welfare.
  • Through the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, we monitored progress towards the 2022 EU ban on the routine, preventative use of antibiotics on farms.
  • Our campaign for clear meat and dairy labels saw significant progress, with Lidl becoming the first British retailer to test ‘method of production’ labels to help shoppers understand how chickens have been treated. In Italy we campaigned to prevent the introduction of misleading labels – especially on Parma Ham and alongside leading retailer, Casino, and two NGOs, we launched France’s first welfare labelling scheme.
  • And last, but by no means least, whilst COVID-19 prevented protests at parliaments and ports on Ban Live Exports: International Awareness Day, 100 organisations in 36 countries took the internet by storm – and #BanLiveExports reached more than 13 million views. We also launched a Judicial Review of live calf exports from Scotland and, following your overwhelming pressure, the Scottish Government halted this appalling trade. 

Calves in transport | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

BUT…..Imagine our excitement when, only last week, after Compassion’s 50 years of campaigning, the government announced their intention to ban live animal exports in England and Wales following an 8-week consultation period.  Wonderful news but rest assured we will not rest until these cruel and unnecessary exports are consigned to history and other countries follow suit.

One Health, One Welfare

In short, I am both heartened and humbled, that in the face of unprecedented challenges, everyone joined hands to make major progress against the world’s biggest cause of animal cruelty – factory farming.

When it comes to the animal kingdom, our environment and disease transmission, the wellbeing of animals and people are closely intertwined. Covid-19 has shown us how fragile society really is; how our way of life can be snatched away in a moment; never has there been a more potent example of why protecting people means protecting animals too.

Free-range animals farming in harmony with nature | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

We have a golden opportunity to bring together the long-standing wisdom of regenerative, agroecological farming; farming in harmony with nature, together with the technological innovations of new proteins that don’t require animals at all such as cultured meat from stem-cells. In this way, we can save soils for our fruit and vegetables. Allow our farmed animals to have a good and healthy life. And ensure that everyone has a rich and plentiful diet with a real diversity of protein sources.

The future of our world is what’s at stake here.  It’s that serious, but we know the solution.  One health, One welfare.

In closing, may I say a heartfelt thank you once again, to you all for your unwavering help and support.  And may I also wish you and your loved ones, a very, very happy festive season.

Keep safe and take care, wherever you may be in the world.

For more details about the impact that Compassion in World Farming has had during 2020, please click the link here 

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