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 recognizes 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 favor 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 publicize their opposition to cruel farming practices, they reach far more consumers and educate them on compassionate food choices than we ever will.
Last year, for example, Coop Italia published a newspaper ad on the European Leader Award that we gave them. The ad was printed in all major Italian newspapers, with a combined print-run of 2.5 million copies. Coop Italia’s leadership means that millions of animals benefit from their policies and millions of Italians learn about how their food is produced. I am pleased to say that we continue to work closely with Coop Italia.
Despite the improvements reached through our partnership with companies such as Coop Italia, there are still millions of animals in Italy whose life is not worth living. For example, 17 million hens are still imprisoned in battery cages. (Italy has recently been referred to the European Court of Justice for not implementing the battery cage ban.) Nine million pigs suffer various mutilations. They are deprived their natural behaviors, including rooting in the ground. Two million dairy cows never see grass.
But Compassion fights on for all these animals.
Our vital work in Italy, and throughout the world, would not be possible without you. It’s your continuing support that helps us to keep fighting internationally for farmed animal welfare.
On behalf of everyone at Compassion, I want to thank you for being there with us. Please know that we work hard to make sure every contribution is well spent to multiply its impact.
Please help Compassion punch above our weight by making the most generous donation you can afford today!