IN TURBULENT TIMES, YOUR COMPASSION ENDURES
This has been a year of immense challenges. But, thanks to your steadfast kindness and compassion, 2023 also saw historic wins against factory farming, and hope for a brighter future for animals, people and our world.
Millions of people around the world want to see cages banned from farming. We’ve welcomed new, draft legislation to help ban live exports, encouraged companies to back a humane, environmentally-sound food system, and helped hundreds of thousands of citizens to speak out for vulnerable animals. Plus, together, we’re proving that the wellbeing of everyone on Earth depends upon ending the biggest cause of animal cruelty. Thank you.
During 2022/23, Compassion supporters took 23.2 MILLION actions to speak up for animals and expose the cruelty, environmental and social harm caused by factory farming.
From writing to politicians and policy makers, to attending protests and spreading the word on social media, you showed those in power that ending farm animal suffering isn’t just morally right but a global imperative.
And, with each generous monthly donation you made, you gave Compassion’s campaigns the constancy and power to drive through every challenge, towards an end to unsustainable and unethical intensive animal farming.
In 2022/2023, media coverage of our campaigns hit an estimated 19.5 billion opportunities to be seen or heard on TV, radio and in the press.
Thanks to you, in 2021, the European Commission committed to end the use of cages in animal farming. Your European Citizens’ Initiative to End the Cage Age, the referendum-like petition initiated and co-ordinated by Compassion, was signed by 1.4 million citizens.
Over 80% of Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of an end to caged farming.
Last year, studies by the EU’s scientific body, the European Food Safety Authority, recommended that hens, ducks, geese and quail should be kept cage free and calves should not be kept in individual pens.
In a shocking U-turn, on 13 September 2023, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the European Union speech failed to mention this important issue, suggesting the European Commission is to shelve its unprecedented commitment to ban caged farming.
Such disdain for citizen’s and scientists alike will only make us more determined to get Europe’s 300 million animals out of cages; we won’t stop until the only cage on a farm – wherever in the world it may be – is an empty cage.
- In the UK, almost 400,000 signatures were delivered to the Government at Westminster and Holyrood, calling on Ministers to End the Cage Age.
- In the US, we celebrated a pivotal victory when the Supreme Court rejected the pork industry’s challenge to California’s ‘Proposition 12’. Judges upheld California’s ban on the production or sale of pork, veal or eggs from caged or crated animals. This vital ruling will help protect millions of animals from cage cruelty every year.
2023 brought four big wins for the global movement against the unacceptable trade in live farm animals:
- New Zealand’s historic ban on all remaining live exports by sea came into force in April.
- Germany has now banned all live exports of cattle, sheep and goats to non-EU countries.
- The Australian Government committed to phasing out sheep exports by sea.
- And a Brazilian judge banned live cattle exports from all the country’s ports.
Meanwhile over 120 organisations, including campaigners in at least 31 countries, united for Ban Live Exports: International Awareness Day. On 14th June, around the world, people took to the streets to help end long-distance suffering on trucks and ships. And, online, #BanLiveExports had a potential reach of over 41 million views!
This summer, with your relentless support and with the help of our friends at Avaaz, we amassed over 95,000 signatures calling to end live exports. In September we delivered these directly to No. 10 Downing Street, alongside our Patron, Dame Joanna Lumley. A new Bill to ban this trade for slaughter or fattening is passing through Parliament, and we’ll keep up the pressure until live exports are stopped, once and for all.
Through Compassion’s Rethink Fish campaign, you’re at the forefront of efforts to fix the shocking lack of fish welfare protection in EU legislation.
Alongside WeMove and Essere Animali, last December we handed in over 150,000 signatures to the European Commission, urging new fish welfare rules. We also published an important scientific report, Rethinking EU Aquaculture for People, Planet, and Animals, which makes the clear case for more sustainable, higher welfare fish farming. And for the first time, our Supermarket Survey included questions relating to farmed fish.
Compassion is also playing a leading role in fighting plans for the world’s first commercial octopus farm. We’re pressing the local government in the Canary Islands to block the scheme and, with allies across Europe, calling on the EU to ban this cruel and environmentally damaging practice before it can take hold.
Media coverage of our work to ban octopus farming reached a potential audience of almost 2 billion people.
In the US, Hawai’ian state authorities ordered an octopus farm that was operating under the guise of a tourist attraction and research facility to discontinue its activities. And the Washington House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee advanced a Bill that would ban octopus farming in the state. This first-of-its-kind legislation must still clear several hurdles, but momentum is growing to protect octopuses from inhumane factory farming.
The misuse of medication to keep animals alive in unhealthy, cruel conditions is rife. And, as a founding member of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, Compassion is at the forefront of efforts to stop these vital drugs being used to prop up factory farming.
You’ve already helped secure EU legislation that made it illegal for farmers to use antibiotics routinely to prevent disease. And, in 2023, we celebrated major progress in the UK when the Government launched a consultation on strengthening the rules on antibiotic use on farms.
If these proposals lead to changes in legislation, the routine use of antibiotics would be banned, as well as using antibiotics “to compensate for poor hygiene, inadequate husbandry, or poor farm management practices.
Over 2.5 billion animals a year are now set to benefit thanks to your backing for Compassion’s Food Business program.
Together, we’re helping more and more companies commit to improving animal welfare, and holding them to account for their pledges to move to more sustainable, resilient food systems.
We have helped secure corporate commitments to higher welfare production that are set to benefit more than 150 MILLION animals each year.
Click on the links below to read how you are influencing change in food business:
Over 600 businesses globally have now promised to move to healthier breeds of chicken, reared in better conditions, by making the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). And the number of companies in our US Working Group who are collaborating to improve chicken welfare has leapt from seven to 20.
We also hold companies to account on their BCC pledges. The latest US ChickenTrack showed the number of businesses reporting progress on their commitments has more than tripled. Plus, the first ever European ChickenTrack confirmed 100% of fresh chicken in Norway’s REMA supermarkets and M&S in the UK is now from birds raised to these higher welfare standards.
Every year, we track the performance of major food businesses against their growing number of cage-free commitments for egg-laying hens. And the good news is that, despite economic challenges, the sixth annual EggTrack revealed positive change for animals around the world.
The report showed that 75% of the 232 companies tracked were now reporting progress towards eliminating cages for hens, and on average almost 80% of the eggs used or produced by these companies were from animals living cage-free lives.
Meanwhile, eight businesses made new global cage free pledges – including Pizza Express and Yum! Brands. And eight companies also reported 100% compliance with European-level cage free egg commitments.
Crucially, 24 companies have now made clear statements against using ‘combination systems’ which, at the flick of a door, can become a cage. You previously helped stop combi-cages infiltrating the UK, and now more and more companies globally are turning their backs on this unethical ‘solution’ the cruel caging of hens.
Corporate progress on animal welfare also depends on giving shoppers clear information about the food they buy, so they can choose to avoid factory farming.
After the European Union required packaging to state whether eggs come from hens who were kept in cages, barns, free-range or organic systems, the demand for cage-free eggs increased. Over half of hens in the EU now live in higher welfare systems.
We were therefore appalled when, having previously said that it would consult on extending compulsory animal welfare labelling to other species, the UK Government announced it was abandoning plans to publish its long-awaited consultation on this issue. We won’t give up until honest food labelling becomes law.
And we’re also making sure the food industry doesn’t simply wait for legislation before it gives consumers a clear choice. With your support, this year we’ve helped extend the Étiquette Bien-Être Animal® welfare labelling scheme in France from chicken to pork. And more than 100 French companies are now trialling Planet-Score® – the ground-breaking environmental labelling Score® scheme which was devised, with our input, in 2021.
From pollution to the climate crisis, wildlife extinctions to human malnutrition, almost every global challenge has food at its core.
Thanks to you, politicians, businesses and citizens are waking up to the truth that ending factory farming is essential to a healthy future for our planet.
Click on the stories below to read some of the key movement building highlights from last year:
In 2023, Compassion brought together policy makers, business leaders, NGOs, farmers and scientists for the ‘Extinction or Regeneration’ conference – co-hosted with IPES-Food (the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems), the Institute of Development Studies and other partners.
Hundreds of delegates took part in London and online. And, thanks to a partnership with the Good Food Fund, hundreds of thousands also joined a translated live stream in China.
Experts on issues as diverse as soil science, food justice, sustainable development and cellular agriculture came together to address the threats posed by our current food system.
Following its launch at the COP27 UN climate conference in 2022, our petition calling for a transformative United Nations Global Agreement on food and farming has already gained over 300,000 signatures, with numbers growing every day.
Our END.IT campaign has also secured high profile backing from Hollywood actors, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Steve Coogan and Eva Green. And the compelling case for holding factory farming to account is gaining political traction.
Compassion also remains at the forefront of efforts to address the disease threats posed by factory farms – where overcrowded, stressful conditions create a perfect breeding ground for dangerous viruses and bacteria.
In 2022, alongside FOUR PAWS, the Born Free Foundation and Proyecto Animales Latino América, we presented World Health Organization officials with almost 600,000 names of people who want to see an end to factory farming to reduce the risk of future pandemics.
And, in 2023, we stepped up this campaign in the face of the devastating global bird flu crisis. We released a ground-breaking report setting out how the emergence and spread of highly pathogenic bird flu is linked to intensive farming.
Compassion’s work relies on the generosity of all those who donate to fight factory farming, protect animals and transform the global food system.
Our thanks to every single individual and organization who made a gift in the last year, and to all those who have remembered Compassion in their Will.
2022-2023 global impact report
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Photo credits: © iStock, © CIWF