Posts Tagged ‘battery cage ban’

Punching Above Our Weight

Monday, May 20th, 2013

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, Head of CIWF Italia

Annamaria Pisapia, Head of CIWF Italia

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.

The good, the bad & the reflective

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Happy New Year and welcome to 2013!

The great news is that caging sows throughout their pregnancies is now illegal throughout the European Union! It was a hard-fought victory and another nail in the coffin for the extreme confinement forms of factory farming from half a century ago. Some 13 million sows face better lives as a result.

The shameful news is that 14 countries may well have entered the New Year as law-breakers. The European Commission admits that a number of countries haven’t done enough to be ready for the ban, including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands. There really is no excuse for this, given the lengthy phase-in period that all members of the EU have had to prepare for the 2013 ban. Eleven years is ample time for producers to adjust their systems. Those who are non-compliant should be punished, rather than being allowed to play the victim.

So, the hard work begins of ensuring the ban is properly enforced across Europe. It seems staggering that so many countries are allowed to get away with non-compliance after such a generous notice period of over a decade. Farmers in Britain did away with sow stalls in 1999, following a campaign spearheaded by Compassion in World Farming and Parliamentary pig champion, Sir Richard Body MP. Now is the time to ensure that Europe has a level playing field and plays fair on animal welfare.



Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Today is a special day for our friends at Brussels-based GAIA  (Global Action in the Interest of Animals). GAIA has been speaking up for the voiceless in Belgium for 20 years now, a tremendous achievement!

I remember in the early days working with GAIA on the battery cage ban when we shut passers-by and celebrities – and even GAIA’s president and Compassion Trustee, Michel Vandenbosch – in human-sized battery cages! Since those days, we’ve worked on many successful campaigns together, for example, getting veal crates and sow stalls banned throughout Europe.

20 years on, GAIA continues to be a powerhouse working for animals at the heart of Europe – to bring them better lives and to end their suffering. I am proud to count them amongst Compassion’s closest friends and allies. I wish them well on this very special day. And look forward to many more years of highly effective campaigning together.

The Road to Cage Free

Friday, March 16th, 2012

With barren battery cages banned in Europe, we are now redoubling our commitment to end all cage systems for farm animals. Two out of three farmed animals worldwide are kept in factory farms. A couple of recent news reports reminded me of just how vulnerable animals can be in factory farms.

In Victoria, Australia, 700,000 chickens, ranging in age from less than one week to not more than six weeks, were abandoned without food by Tip Top Poultry.  The Victorian Department of Primary Industries had to intervene with emergency supplies of food.  Reports suggest the company is likely to be charged with animal cruelty. 

In Turlock, California, 50,000 laying hens in battery cages were left without feed for two weeks.  About one-third died from starvation. Most of the remaining hens were euthanised by the local government authority, Stanislaus Animal Services Agency. The company involved faces prosecution. Some 4,460 hens were rescued in what is hailed by Animal Place as California’s largest farm animal rescue.

The link between these two incidents in Australia and the United States is that both firms were deep in financial trouble. They went bust in part because they could no longer afford increasing feed costs.

Factory farming is something no one can afford. It means animal cruelty, environmental damage and unhealthy products for us to eat, while denying vital resources to feed those who suffer from starvation. As our important report, Eating the Planet, showed you do not need factory farming to feed the world’s population. These are the reasons why we must end factory farming. And this is why I celebrate the European ban on barren battery cages as a step down the road toward cage free farming.

One of the positive effects of the European ban is the increasing demand for non-caged eggs in supermarkets and other businesses. Recent figures from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK show that nearly one in two eggs bought at the end of 2011 came from hens kept free range (45%), with barn and organic eggs combined (7%).

Compassion is committed to a whole food system which is kind to animals, honestly labelled and cares for the environment and consumer health. Clearly, much remains to be done. I know I can count on you, and our increasing ranks of supporters throughout the world, to work toward the day when we can celebrate all farm animals being free from cages and confinement.

Your Favourite Blogs — and Mine — in 2011!

Friday, January 6th, 2012

My first post on New Year’s Day this year celebrated the ban on barren battery hen cages in the European Union. On January 1, 2012 it became illegal to keep chickens in these cages. But be assured, our work doesn’t stop there; far from it! Now we focus even more intently on other areas of factory farming in Europe and internationally. Our aim for this year is to take the fight against factory farming to new audiences across the world.

Based on the number of visits made last year to A Compassionate World, two of the three most popular blogs were about chickens.

The most popular, ‘Have you seen the news?’ celebrated the historic agreement reached in the USA that could see an end to the barren battery cage there.

‘Why is animal welfare of any importance?’ was the second most popular blog. Here, I explained why Compassion is concerned with farmed animals. It isn’t just because of their welfare. It’s also because factory farming is a wastefully inefficient way of producing food and it harms the environment.

Coming in third place was ‘Reflections on a cage ban’ where I made the link between the EU barren cage ban and the ex-battery hens adopted by my wife Helen and I.

Philip's Hen


‘Back at home, our new hen nestles into a bed of straw,’ I wrote. ‘It’s the first time she has ever made a nest. She lays an egg. I can see the difference made to the life of this one sensitive creature. How wondrous then that, from 1st January next year, the tireless efforts of compassionate people everywhere will have touched the lives of so many millions more.’

Another chicken related topic I wrote about was our Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards. This included the Good Egg Award given to companies that pledge to use or sell only cage-free eggs.

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.