Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Calves pay the ultimate price for cruel trade

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Earlier this year, Compassion’s Investigation Unit uncovered the horrifying treatment of European animals exported for slaughter in Gaza. Following on from this, my organisation’s latest investigation tracks their journey Europe to Israel, telling the whole distressing story of these young and vulnerable calves from start to finish.

Working with Animal Welfare Foundation and Tierschutzbund Zürich, the team discovered that thousands of un-weaned calves are being transported from Lithuania, Romania and Hungary on long journeys, up to 4000km, with little or no welfare provision. The young cattle face hunger, exhaustion, beatings and squalid living conditions in the lead up tovlcsnap-2015-07-15-11h36m22s64 (1) a brutal, inhumane death.

For the defenceless calves facing export from Europe to Israel and Gaza this journey is one of immeasurable suffering. The trucks and sea vessels are not fit for purpose and many calves are transported when sick and weak – some are unable to stand.

At sea, where there is no regulatory body to enforce welfare legislation, calves suffer most. Mortality rates are believed to be high and it is common for animals to be thrown overboard during the journey. Their bodies can later wash up on the beaches in Israel.

Young calves have poorly developed immune systems, and as a result, mortality rates are high during transport. According to workers, calves are of such low value that regardless of how sick they became veterinary treatment is not administered.

A recent landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice said that European animal transport laws must be applied even during parts of the journey that happen outside of the EU. However, it is clear that for the five days these European calves spend at sea and during the onward journey in Israel, there is no one to ensure welfare legislation is complied with and no consequences for those that break the law.

On arrival in Israel, the cattle are taken to quarantine and then sent on to squalid, barren, ‘lock-up-and-leave’ fattening farms. Animals that survive the terrible cruelty to reach this point are then sent for slaughter. Some are inhumanly slaughtered at Israeli abattoirs without stunning whilst others are driven across the borders into West Bank and Gaza as documented in Compassion’s previous investigation.

I am pleased to report that the release of this investigation in Israel has triggered protesters to demonstrate outside the Romanian Embassy in Tel Aviv. I find it encouraging that our investigative films lead to people fighting for farm animals’ welfare, at both ends of this horrific trade.

I am sure, like me, you will be appalled by the findings of this investigation. As long as Europe’s leaders continue to prioritise trade over the welfare of animals, these vulnerable calves will be the victims who pay the ultimate price for this cruel industry.

Whilst the export of live animals from the EU is allowed to continue, Europe’s youngest and most vulnerable animals will fall victim to this abhorrent cruelty. Please join me and fight this trade.

The Science of Animal Welfare

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Interview with Don Broom

Professor Donald Broom

Professor Donald Broom

One of the most important tools in the box for challenging animal cruelty is animal welfare science (AWS). AWS uses rigorous scientific methods to study the welfare of animals, including those used in agriculture. We instinctively know keeping animals in cages is wrong. However, our views carry more weight when they’re supported by science; research which catalogues and quantifies the extent to which animals have good welfare or are suffering.

Foremost among animal welfare scientists is Donald Broom. He was appointed the first Professor of Animal Welfare in the world in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge in 1986. Professor Broom’s distinguished career includes university teaching, advising British and European political bodies, and writing key texts in animal welfare science, including Sentience and Animal Welfare in 2014 and Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare with Andrew F. Fraser.

Following publication of the fifth edition of Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare, I interviewed Professor Broom about a lifetime advocating the science of animal welfare:

Philip: The first edition of Farm Animal Behaviour was published in 1974 and you were involved with farmed animal welfare before that. How would you assess the progress made to date in the UK and Europe?

Donald: The scientific world and people in general did not consider animal welfare to be a scientific discipline in the 1970s and 1980s. Since I became Professor of Animal Welfare in Cambridge in 1986 I have been defining concepts and, together with other scientists, developing scientific assessment methods. We are now in a situation where, at least in the European Union, a scientific report is required before any legislation and most commercial standards or animal protection campaigns are initiated.

Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

When I was in South Africa in September on the second leg of my South African Farmageddon tour I met with the Most Reverend Ziphozihle Siwa, who is the presiding Bishop of the Methodist church and president of South Africa’s Council of Churches. He very kindly accepted my invitation to publish here as one of my guests his profoundly important statement opposing industrialised agriculture from a Christian perspective.  

Meeting with Most Reverend Ziphozihle Siwa, presiding Bishop of the Methodist church and president of South Africa's Council of Churches.

Meeting with Most Reverend Ziphozihle Siwa, presiding Bishop of the Methodist church and president of South Africa’s Council of Churches.

I am writing this appeal as one of the followers of Jesus Christ who said in John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I write as the faith leader on the eve of the World Food Day (16 October) and out of deep concern for the ecological crisis that threatens to bring us and the whole of creation to the brink of mass suffering and destruction. My appeal is that we pay special attention to this and request all people of faith to pause, reflect and act as stewards of all that God has created.

This crisis is human-induced, caused among other things by industrialised agriculture which depends on monocultures, pesticides and factory farming of animals, as well as our prevailing culture of consumerism. The challenge to overcome this crisis lies in the human heart. Combating Climate Change requires nothing less than a radical change of direction, a change of heart and mind, a transformation of our society at the level of culture itself.

We need to realise that we have been captured by the lure of consumerism to believe our happiness and success depends on what we eat, wear, own and use.

We are trapped in the logic of consumerism which emphasises what we lack downplaying what we already have. We are reminded daily of our unfulfilled needs, thus placing consumerism at the heart of culture. The over consumption of animal-derived products – meat, eggs, milk and so on – is part of this culture of consumerism and places an enormous burden on human health, as well as on the lives of animals which are crammed into factory farms in order to supply our demands, especially for cheap meat.

Farmed animals eat grass and bushes by nature – food that we, as humans, cannot eat – and 67% of land in South Africa is available and suitable for grazing and browsing.

Yet we take the animals off the land and cram them in large numbers into huge sheds, feeding them vast amounts of fish and grains in order to make more meat, more eggs, and more milk, cheaply.  The meat, eggs and milk from these animals is directed towards the Consumer Culture which then, in turn, struggles with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, while  the oceans become depleted of fish and rural farmers lose their livelihoods because they are unable to compete with cheap supermarket products. As for the animals, they live and die without ever seeing a blade of grass or a ray of sunshine.

The church has a moral and theological responsibility to set aside this stupidity and embrace its role of stewardship of our beautiful earth and all its creation. We need our congregations to become eco-congregations transforming culture to promote a healthy diet for all, sustainable livelihoods for rural farmers, as well as the well-being of the land and all its creatures. Only in this way can we ensure sustainability and establish justice for all.

Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa
Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa
President of the South African Council of Churches

Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Review of my international guest posts in 2014

Monday, January 19th, 2015
David Bilchitz

David Bilchitz

The publication of Farmageddon at the beginning of 2014 opened the door to a new international audience for our message to end the cage age for farmed animals. I travelled throughout the world to places like China and Argentina researching the global impact of industrial agriculture for Farmageddon. Now my travel is very much aimed at building an international movement against factory farming. Here I look back at some of my guest postings from around the world in 2014.

I was honoured to meet Professor David Bilchitz, director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional Human Rights and International Law, who sees no place for factory farming in South Africa.

Factory farming is devastating for animal welfare. It treats animals ‘like units in an industrial process’, said the famous South African author J M Coetzee. It has no regard for their intrinsic value and does not respect their basic rights to bodily integrity and to live in an environment in which they can flourish. Arguably this runs counter to the essence of the new [South African] constitutional framework which requires a concern for those who are weakest and most vulnerable. And, finally, it is devastating for the environment through a range of effects it causes.

Angus McIntosh

Angus McIntosh


Did you see who we had as guest blogger for 2014?

Monday, January 12th, 2015
Jonathon Porritt

2014 guest blogger, Jonathon Porritt

This last year has been an incredibly busy and productive one for Compassion, with the publication of my book, Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat, the release of ground-breaking videos like ‘Secrets of Food Marketing’ and ‘Chicken factory farmer speaks out’, and the launch of our ambitious campaign to End the Cage Age.

As well as news, comments and updates, I have been really excited to host a wonderful array of special guest articles in 2014, each one giving their own personal take on factory farming and the issues it raises. Here we look again at some highlights:

Emma Silverthorn, granddaughter of dairy farmer and Compassion founder, Peter Roberts, was one of our first guest blogs of the year. Reflecting on the publication of Farmageddon and its meaning for their family, she wrote:

Emma Silverthorn

Emma Silverthorn

In the early 1960s, as Philip describes in Farmageddon’s Preface, a man from the farming ministry knocked on my grandparent’s door and told them to ‘boost business’ by moving into ‘intensive chicken rearing’. Thus, the seed was planted that led to their outrage that became their lifelong campaign. Peter momentarily weighed up the pros and cons of such a system. Nan instinctively said no.

Writer and commentator, George Monbiot, looked back to when he was 18 and a holiday job on an intensive pig farm:

George Monbiot

George Monbiot

[A]nd the things I witnessed there will never be erased from my mind. I’m aware that Compassion and your book bridge the issues: connecting the farming of livestock with the great web of damage to the natural world this does, and that it’s time I created the mental space to start engaging with it.


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.