Together for a more Compassionate World

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As we approach the festive holidays, it’s only natural to look back over the past year and reflect on what we’ve achieved and what might have been. This year has been a rollercoaster ride, with real progress for animals folded with broken promises from those in positions of power. But the one thing that never changes is our huge appreciation for the overwhelming support and involvement of compassionate people like you.   

Over the past year, Compassion in World Farming’s supporters like you took 23.2 million actions to speak up for animals and expose the cruelty, environmental and social harm caused by factory farming. From writing to politicians and policy makers, to attending protests, fundraising, and spreading the word on social media, you showed those in power that ending farm animal suffering isn’t just morally right but a global imperative. 

Here, I’m delighted to share with you some of the highlights of our year together bringing better lives to farmed animals.

Dame Joanna Lumley urges UK Government to Ban Live Exports | Credit: Nacho Rivera 

Live Animal Exports

Over 120 organisations in 31 countries united for our Ban Live Exports International Awareness Day on 14th June. The big news is that in the UK, the King’s Speech included a commitment from Government to bring forward a ban on live animal exports for slaughter or further fattening from England, Scotland, and Wales. It was an announcement that followed intense campaigning involving many of our supporters and our very special patron, Dame Joanna Lumley, who handed in a petition of nearly 100,000 signatures to Downing Street

Stopping Octopus Farming

This past year, Compassion continued to lead the charge against plans for the world’s first commercial octopus farm in the Canary Islands. We mobilised our supporters to take action to thwart plans for a colossal octopus farm which threatens the wellbeing of these intelligent creatures. It’s the latest step in our campaign to end factory farming’s new frontiers. It came off the back of our victory in closing the USA’s only octopus farm stationed in Hawaii. 

End the Cage Age

On World Cage Free Day, world renowned conservationist and our Patron, Dr Jane Goodall, joined citizens and NGOs in urging the European Union to stop the suffering and end the cage age. 

In the US, we celebrated a pivotal victory when the Supreme Court rejected the pork industry’s challenge to California’s ‘Proposition 12’. This vital ruling will help protect millions of animals from cage cruelty every year.

Also in the US, we’ve been making groundbreaking progress on cage-free eggs by influencing the Federal food aid program known as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Thanks to our campaign, 30 US state WIC agencies have approved cage-free eggs, meaning that 70% of WIC participants now have access to higher welfare food choices, directly benefiting 4 million laying hens with cage-free lives. 

Elsewhere, I am very pleased to report that our corporate engagement in Asia is taking off with the news that 25 million animals are set to benefit from better lives due to new company commitments to cage-free produce in China, Japan, and Thailand. 

The well-known actor Brian Cox, delivers a personal message to the delegates at the recent Extinction or Regeneration Conference at the QE2, London Credit: CIWF/Nacho Rivera

Extinction or Regeneration

Our major international conference in London brought together policy makers, business leaders, NGOs, farmers and scientists from across the globe to share solutions for how we can transform our food and farming systems for better human, animal and planetary health. It was 2 days of conference, 5 plenary sessions, 6 parallel sessions, and 63 speakers (32 female, 31 male) from 20 countries. We had 740 delegates plus 370,000 people watching the live stream in China. We achieved great coverage, with a potential media audience reach of 2 billion people.

End It

The big message coming out from the conference was that we need to end factory farming before it ends us. Without a transition to a humane and regenerative food system, humanity faces multiple crises of climate, nature, and health emergencies. 

In response, we have launched a ground-breaking campaign calling on global leaders to eliminate factory farming. Our petition calling for a transformative United Nations Global Agreement on food and farming has already gained over 300,000 signatures.  Our END.IT campaign has also secured high profile backing from Hollywood actors, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Steve Coogan and Eva Green. 

Corporate commitments

I am proud to share that together, we’re helping more and more companies commit to improving animal welfare, and holding them to account for their pledges to move to more sustainable, resilient food systems. Over 2.5 billion animals are now set to benefit each year thanks to your backing for Compassion’s corporate engagement team.

The Power of Words

The year also saw the launch of 3 books: Animal Welfare in World Religion: Teaching and Practice by our Ambassador Emeritus and former CEO, Joyce D’Silva. Roaming Wild: The Founding of Compassion in World Farming exploring the little-known inspiring story of our founders Anna and Peter Roberts MBE and Cultivated Meat to Secure our Future co-edited by Michel Vandenbosch and myself.

Challenges Ahead

In the year ahead, we have many challenges but also opportunities, that need your support, not least ending cages in Europe. In 2021, following our European Citizen’s Initiative petition campaign, which gathered 1.4 million signatures, the European Commission committed to end the use of cages in animal farming by 2027. Sadly, this is so far a promise unfulfilled. 

Big priorities for the year ahead then include getting the European Commission to keep its promise to end cages, working to get the British ban on live exports over the line, persuading more companies to make cage-free policies, and galvanising support at the UN for an end to factory farming.

One thing is for sure, we could never achieve as much as we do for animals, without the kindness and unwavering commitment of you, our supporters. Heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.

In closing, it simply remains for me to wish you all a very happy and peaceful festive holiday.  

And thank you once again for continuing to help us strive for a more compassionate world.

Main Image: A girl and her lamb, Polkadot | Credit: LuSaOrganics

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