January 31, 2018
Compassion in World Farming, USA
125 East Trinity Place, Suite 206
Decatur, GA 30030
We are saddened and deeply concerned by the recent allegations of sexual harassment in the animal protection movement. Unfortunately, our movement is not immune to the sexual harassment problems that plague our broader society. As is true of every sector or industry, misconduct becomes pervasive when those in power decide that it is, on some level, considered acceptable behavior, or turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. That needs to change.
What can make speaking out even more difficult for those who work in social movements, especially in the case of speaking out against someone in a position of power, is the additional fear that by coming forward, they might hurt the movement or hinder progress for animals.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable and pressure must come from stakeholders at every level to tackle the problem at its root and prevent further harm.
We are proud to be a female-led farm animal protection organization with strong policies in place to support employees and empower whistleblowers. Compassion in World Farming USA has an established, board-approved anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. It includes strict travel protocols that prohibit inappropriate sharing of hotel rooms, as well as a thorough investigation process that provides employees multiple channels to report misconduct— mitigating the harmful power dynamics that so often discourage victims from coming forward.
We also require all employees to undergo mandatory sexual harassment training, and mandate that any harassment complaints and investigations be reported to the board on an annual basis.
It is the responsibility of leadership at nonprofit organizations—institutions that the public trusts to behave ethically—to take concrete steps to protect employees and cultivate workplaces that are respectful, inclusive, and intolerant of harassment in any form. Achieving movement-wide change will take the collective voice of all stakeholders, from organizational staff to leadership to constituents to funders, to speak out.
At Compassion in World Farming USA, it is our goal to lead the charge towards a kinder, more just world for animals—as well as those fighting for them.
A PDF version of this statement is available here. For media inquiries, please contact:
Head of US Public Engagement
Compassion in World Farming