As the world grows another year older, we turn to reflect on times past, present and of course, the future.  It’s been a turbulent year in many ways. 

The daily news and social media beams into our homes and onto our personal devices, some of the best and worst of human qualities. There are some days when it all makes for very grim viewing and reading. So much so, that it’s hard to remain positive.

As CEO of Compassion in World Farming, I find it particularly hard to witness the continued abuse of the billions of farm animals that are farmed industrially. Here, I am not referring to the many hard working farmers who care deeply for their animals and who are at pains to give them a good outdoor, pasture-based life where they have a chance to exhibit their natural behaviours and run a calf at foot. Or those growing crops in a way respectful to the land. I am, however, talking about those intensively reared animals who merely exist until they are killed for our food.   

However, I am greatly heartened by stories of human endeavour and kindness to others and all animals, which serve to lift the human spirit.  The stories of farmers who are going above and beyond to care for their animals and to protect the environment – they give us hope for the future but we in turn need to support them too and recognise that their quality meat is worth that bit extra. The mantra when it comes to meat and milk of #Lessandbetter is an essential one if we are to move beyond business as usual to a more regenerative food system. 

When all is said and done, my faith remains in the human spirit – our ability to love, our ability to care, our ability to do the right thing even against impossible odds which is what also makes us human. 

Take the example of Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old climate activist from Sweden, who stood alone and spoke so eloquently at COP24. She stole the show, spoke for her generation, woke up the world and humbled those around her, including myself.  There are other young ambassadors out there too, reminding us all that we are the first generation that knows so much about what is happening to the world. It is down to us to do something about it. And time is running out. With each passing year, our message becomes ever more urgent. Take recent warnings that we have just 12 years left to tackle climate change!

So, this New Year, I will making a resolution to do more for a better world, every single day. Things like being that bit more mindful about the food I eat, the way I travel and other ways in which I live.

Because, with every passing year, I am that bit more aware of how the way I live affects others, be they animals on factory farms or imperilled wildlife. It affects other people, be they in my immediate community or on continents far away. And it affects the future for generations to come.

I hope you’ll join with me therefore in this New Year’s resolution and, with the help of Compassion in World Farming, bring about a better day for animals, people and the future of planet. Every day.

With grateful thanks and wishing you a very joyous, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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