Compassion is anchored in the original mission of our founders, Peter and Anna Roberts, as an animal protection organisation. Since our founding in 1967, Compassion has grown to become an international force against factory farming. With thousands of caring people throughout the world who support our work, we have worked hard together to accomplish many significant victories.
We have also witnessed many changes. A notable one came to mind this week. It was prompted by David Cameron’s announcement of a new UK Cabinet. The significant change I was thinking of was how the number of governments we now deal with on animal welfare has increased. In the 1960s, Compassion only dealt with the UK government in the Palace of Westminster, London. Today, we work with the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, the European Parliament and governments throughout the EU. This is partly a sign of the political times, but also of how Compassion has grown into a European and, increasingly, international voice for animals.
In Britain, of the outgoing DEFRA ministers, Compassion worked more with Jim Paice than Caroline Spelman. Although we didn’t always agree with him, we found Jim Paice to be approachable, attentive and sympathetic on some issues. For example, he was committed to bringing the debeaking of laying hens to an end. He also fully supported the EU ban on the barren battery cage. But we disagreed on cloning, which we oppose; and he refused to oppose mega dairies and promoted the oxymoron idea of sustainable intensification.
Replacing them are Owen Paterson as Secretary of State and David Heath as Minister of State. Mr Paterson is Conservative MP for North Shropshire. Mr Heath is Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome.
Other than from what we read in the press and know from our dealings generally with the coalition government, Ministers Paterson and Heath and their detailed views on farmed animal welfare have yet to be determined.
So, I want to take this opportunity to share with you our message to them. This is what we ask DEFRA to do:
1. Rethink your position on cloning; please support the European Parliament which has voted for a ban on the use of cloned animals and their offspring as well as a ban on the sale of meat and dairy products from cloned animals and their offspring.
2. Drop so-called ‘sustainable intensification’; all too often all this means is more factory farming.
3. Oppose mega dairies and zero grazing; neither are solutions to the problem of producing more food to feed an increasing population.
4. Impose the 8 hour limit; ask our European partners to impose a maximum 8 hour limit on the transport of animals for slaughter and further fattening within the EU.
5. Do all they can to end live exports through the port of Ramsgate in Kent.
6. Take the lead on better labelling; by pressing the EU to introduce mandatory labelling of meat and dairy products as to the farming methods used to produce them.
To find out more about how you can help, please visit Compassion now.