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This month sees the launch of a very special biography that tells the little-known story of two brave pioneers who founded Compassion in World Farming. Part biography and part modern modern-day animal welfare history, the story is of a couple ahead of their time: Peter and Anna Roberts.

Peter and Anna were true visionaries. They farmed with innate respect for other living beings. They saw the countryside as an ecosystem of fellow creatures. They saw farming as part of nature. They could see how the dots joined. They had a strong sense of empathy and would later come to embody the word ‘compassion’.

This new book is the story of the Roberts family, their era, their influence, their rebellion, and their founding of Compassion in World Farming.

It spans their birth in the early 1920s, their childhoods and World War II, to their highly romantic meeting and whirlwind marriage in the 1950s.

Peter Roberts MBE, Founder of Compassion in World Farming, campaigning in the early years | Credit: Compassion in World Farming

No ordinary couple

This ‘ordinary’ part of their story preceded their move to change everything by making the ‘extraordinary’ decision during the tumultuous 1960s of risking their livelihood, going vegetarian (as animal farmers), and losing the approval of their peers.

Their personal transformation was at a time when the British countryside was undergoing huge change with the advent of factory farming. Farmed animals were disappearing inside to be caged and confined. Wildlife was being destroyed with the implementation of monoculture cropping – single crops in prairie-like fields – and the profligate spraying of deadly pesticides such as DDT.

These changes would alter the course of Peter and Anna’s own lives, leading them to turn away from being practising farmers, instead, becoming intensive farming’s staunchest critics.


Peter and Anna’s bravery, insight and compassion provide an inspiring story of great magnitude.

They could see how factory farming was not only cruel to animals but had profound consequences for our health and future survival. Back in the sixties, they were already forecasting ‘Farmageddon’: the threat to a sustainable society as a result of the shift to factory farming.

They were ahead of their time, seeing the need to move to nature-friendly, regenerative farming way decades before the upsurge in interest that is now happening around us today.

And they foresaw the need to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy because of the implications for animal welfare, the countryside, and a sustainable future.

Starting as just a backroom protest, Peter and Anna founded Compassion in World Farming in 1967.  Their charity has since grown into a powerful global movement, achieving profound and enduring advancements in farmed animal welfare.

Roaming Wild is a tale of an ordinary couple with an extraordinary vision. It is the story of their fifty-year love. It is the history of a movement with a mission to place compassion at the heart of everything we do.

Roaming Wild by Emma Silverthorn. Is a terrific read. This is a biography of a relationship made in heaven but firmly rooted on earth, a love not only for each other but for our wonderful planet and all those species with whom we share it, particularly those animals imprisoned in our food systems. Two amazing people, Anna and Peter Roberts, whose kindness and empathy turned compassion into action and founded Compassion in World Farming. I urge you to read it” – Peter Egan, actor, animal advocate and activist

Note: The publishers have been kind enough to offer all our supporters a 20% discount plus p&p.  Please use this link and enter the promotional code CIWF20 at checkout. This offer will run until the end of September 2023. 40% of the royalties from book sales will go to Compassion in World Farming

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