Last week saw the gathering of Compassion’s international leaders here at our headquarters in Godalming, England. For me, it is one of the highlights of the year; a chance to meet, to plan, to understand how best to make the greatest impact for animals on the world stage.
It is great to hear first-hand, the news from our staff team in the USA and China; to hear perspectives from our area contact in Australasia.
Having been founded in Britain, it is perhaps not surprising though, that our greatest campaigning capacity is being developed in Europe. One of the countries where we are now most newly active is Italy, but already we’re making a big difference.
Annamaria Pisapia, who is our Head of Italy, told me recently that Coop Italia has been the first and only Italian retailer to publish on its website their commitment to animal welfare. Their animal welfare policy seeks to ‘develop new criteria and new projects to improve the quality of life of animals’ and recognises animal welfare as being ‘inseparably linked to environmental sustainability’.
Coop Italia, the largest supermarket chain in Italy, proudly declares its recognition from Compassion for ‘implementing policies that improve the well-being of livestock supply chains, in favour of various species, thus demonstrating continuous improvement in this field’.
Of course, as a charity, Compassion operates on a very small budget, even though we proudly punch above our weight. Our resources are modest, to put it mildly, when they are compared to the annual operating expenses of such retailers as Coop Italia.
That’s why it’s so important for Compassion to work with Coop Italia and others to inspire them to develop and implement pro-animal welfare initiatives. Moreover, when these companies promote their commitment to animal well-being and publicise their opposition to cruel farming practices, they reach far more consumers and educate them on compassionate food choices than we ever will.