Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Compassion in France

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Over the last two decades, major reforms have been achieved for farm animal welfare; like Europe-wide bans on veal crates and barren battery cages.  However, there is still so much more to do.  And in many ways, the next steps will be that much harder.  They will require a more concerted approach in key countries throughout Europe if we are to persuade Brussels to make the next big leap for animal welfare.  That is why Compassion is so determined to forge into Europe. To bring the voice of the concerned citizen, the compassionate consumer to bear on those governments with the most influence, and make it stick.

Amongst the countries we are focusing on is France.  I am so looking forward to soon sharing with you an interview with the person leading the charge for us in Paris, Leopoldine Charbonneaux.

Before that, I would like to share some encouraging news of how concern at the growth of industrial farming is genuinely spreading far and wide.  Last Sunday, Leopoldine and her colleagues at CIWF France, joined people from across the nation in a demonstration against factory farming. 


It was initiated by a local citizens group, Novissen, fighting a mega dairy project in the north of France. They are concerned for the potential impact on the landscape, on health, on the environment, on farmers and the animals.  CIWF France was proud to join them and over 40 organisations in opposing a backward step for the French countryside.

Whereas pig and poultry farming in France is already appallingly intensive, the average dairy herd is still around 50 cows, often with good access to pasture. The projected dairy farm in the North of France was originally looking for planning permission to build a zero grazing unit, whereby 1,000 dairy cows would be permanently housed. Public pressure has succeeded in limiting permission to 500 cows instead of 1000.

Compassion’s new voice in Paris will continue to join those opposing mega-dairies and similar developments. We are leading new campaigns to inform the general public and authorities on the many damaging effects of intensive farming: on animals, on the environment, on farmers’ livelihoods, public health, and food quality. By raising the issues, we hope to stop French dairy farming from intensifying and following the road taken for pigs and poultry. 

I look forward to sharing more news and insights into Compassion’s efforts to bring the Government in Paris on side. Look out for the in-depth interview with Leopoldine, posting soon.

Thank you as ever for your support. Together, we will continue putting the ‘world’ into Compassion in World Farming.

High-welfare is for life

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Tonight at the Freemason’s Hall in London’s Covent Garden, Compassion in World Farming will be announcing this year’s winners of The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. TV chef Paul Merrett will be hosting the awards and guest speakers include broadcaster Nigel Barden, chef and broadcaster Allegra McEvedy and actress and Compassion Patron Alexandra Bastedo. The awards are in their second year, and again there has been a fantastic response from businesses across the UK and the EU.

Last year big name companies were presented with awards for providing cruelty-free food with the feel good factor; these businesses  are making a real difference for farm animals by ensuring they are being treated with compassion. The first ‘Good Chicken’ awards for higher-welfare chicken were presented to companies such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Virgin Trains, The Co-operative Food, Pret A Manger and Sainsbury’s. Over 200 million animals already lead better lives each year from the higher welfare policies of last year’s Good Farm Animal Award winners.

Compassion in World Farming’s Food Business Team works all year round with business communities across the UK and Europe to actively promote farm animal welfare. Many businesses tonight will rightly be rewarded for their efforts in ensuring animals that are used for food are treated with compassion.

Don’t forget though, we are effecting change on an immense scale and we need to continue to do so to bring cruel practises like factory farming to an end. We, as consumers, must also make the best decisions we can when buying animal food products to ensure the food on our plate is not a product of misery, pain and suffering. Many of the businesses receiving awards tonight have not just based their decision to implement animal-friendly purchase policies on ethics alone. They are not doing so solely because it is the right thing to do, but also because the people that matter the most, their customers, have said animal welfare is important to them.  As you will see from tonight’s awards – compassionate companies do listen.

Ramsgate: Ban live exports

Monday, June 20th, 2011

A packed public meeting on a rainy Friday evening in Ramsgate; no-one could have any doubt at the strength of feeling against the live animal export trade now going through the town’s port. 

The meeting was opened by an impassioned speech from local councillor, Ian Driver, who took the initiative and called this meeting.  Local people mingled with stalwart campaigners; veterans of past battles against live exports in Shoreham and Brightlingsea.  The RSPCA were joined on the platform by, amongst others, leading members of the dedicated team from Kent Against Live Exports (KALE).  It was a privilege to be part of the meeting; and to see so many people speaking out against a trade in live animals that is outdated, unnecessary and causes so much suffering to animals.

Before the meeting, I spoke to Meridian TV News; they had been busy getting sound-bites from local people in Ramsgate about live exports.  They told me that finding someone in favour of it had been difficult; testimony to the overwhelming opinion against the trade locally. 

Like so many of us, the campaign against long distance animal transport has been part of my life for decades. It’s a chapter I would rather see closed. It was one of the major issues that motivated Compassion’s founder, Peter Roberts.  The campaign has brought together people from all walks of life.  Together, we’ve had huge impact; at its height in the early-1990s, two million sheep and 500,000 calves were being exported live from Britain to continental Europe; staggering numbers.  Last year, that figure was down to 4,000 sheep; the calf trade ceased all together. 

What is deeply concerning is that Ramsgate is now hosting a resurgence of the live export trade; a trade that is both inhumane and unnecessary.  Only this month, 2 consignments of British calves went from Ramsgate.  These calves will often be reared in veal systems that would be illegal in the UK. There is also a major calf trade from Northern Ireland with 7,000 animals this year having gone to Spain and Hungary. 

Many of the sheep will be going for slaughter.  It simply cannot be right to transport animals over long distances simply to be slaughtered at the journey’s end.  This problem is not confined to British live exports.  Our recent investigation  in Europe pointed to the kind of conditions these animals are often forced to endure; transported in overcrowded and filthy conditions, legs sticking out of the lorries and journeys lasting up to 23 hours long.

You can help.  If you haven’t already, please sign the 8-hours petition. Please write urgently to your MEPs calling for European action to end the long distance transport trade and impose a total maximum journey time of 8 hours for animals travelling for slaughter or fattening.  It is great to see that Peter Skinner MEP is supporting the campaign.  If you live in the Ramsgate area, please write to your local councillors and MPs calling for urgent action.  We are putting together an action pack to help you do just that.  I will post it very soon.  Thank you for helping make live animal exports a thing of the past.

Farmageddon on film

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About Philip Lymbery

Philip Lymbery is Chief Executive Officer of Compassion in World Farming and co-author of Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat. He is an internationally respected authority on the impact of industrial agriculture on people, animals and the planet.