10 years of achievements for farmed animals
With your help we have achieved some amazing things for farmed animals over the past 10 years. Thanks to you we…
Convinced the United Nations (UN) to include animal welfare in discussions at its Earth Summit (Rio+20). This ground-breaking decision marked the first time that animals and their treatment were ever considered in global discussions on sustainable development at UN level. It laid the foundations we needed to ensure that farmed animals became a core part of international food and farming debates.
Highlighted, through our ‘Keep Cows on Grass’ campaign, the horrors of industrial dairy production that confines huge numbers of cows to the misery of permanent indoor living. We exposed how they have no access to pasture or exercise. This resulted in cheese companies in the Netherlands committing to produce cheese only from pasture-based milk.
Launched our ‘Choose Cage-Free' campaign in Canada and the US, to inspire consumers and businesses to commit to buying cage-free eggs to reduce the number of hens confined to battery systems. In 2012, a massive 95 percent of all eggs in North America were produced in this way through the 300 million hens kept in cruel caged confinement. By 2021, 33% of hens involved in US egg production and 16% of egg-laying hens in Canada were living cage free lives.
Launched our report ‘What’s on your plate? The hidden costs of industrial animal agriculture in Canada’. This was the first comprehensive multi-disciplinary review of the impacts of factory farming in Canada and involved 13 Canadian scientists and academics. The report was used to lobby MPs and urge government action on policies to encourage a more humane and sustainable food system in Canada. Some of the report recommendations related to banning medically important antibiotics and requiring veterinary oversight were introduced by the Federal Government in 2018.
Campaigned to halt the enormous suffering caused to more than two million sheep every year by Australia’s cruel live export trade. Our report ‘A better way’ – provided compelling economic evidence of the benefits of a chilled and frozen meat trade for everyone in the supply chain. We inspired more than 258,000 people in Australia to sign our petition against the animals’ long journeys to the Middle East, and to Indonesia.
Started our work with the Indian government to improve welfare of the country’s 199 million dairy cows – the world’s largest dairy herd – many of which were suffering in appalling conditions. By the end of the year India’s National Dairy Research Institute and five leading universities recognized this cruelty needed to be urgently addressed and were keen to work with us.
Produced sound economic research predicting long-term increased consumer demand for cage-free eggs in North America. This research helped us talk to retailers, restaurants, food manufacturers, and industry groups about the economic and reputational benefits of switching to cage-free eggs. At the end of 2013, more than 70,000 consumers in North America had signed up to our cage-free pledge.
Gave India’s dairy sector its first ever animal welfare guidelines – A National Dairy Code – to protect dairy cows and buffalos through our work with the country’s National Dairy Research Institute. This initiative gave nearly 50 million dairy cows and buffalos, many of whom were suffering in intensive or other poor conditions, a better chance of improved care and protection.
Helped fund the Business Benchmark for Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) assessment for 2014 with Compassion in World Farming and investment company, Coller Capital. The welfare policies of 80 of the world’s major food companies, including McDonald’s, Walmart and Unilever, were assessed in this BBFAW. Released annually, it is a respected global measure of policy commitment, performance, and disclosure on animal welfare in food companies.
Improved the treatment of millions of animals in Brazilian and Chinese slaughterhouses. We trained more than 1,000 workers in humane slaughter practices. This training resulted in more than 146 million chickens, 12.9 million pigs, and 5.7 million beef cattle experiencing less stress and suffering.
Gained the commitment of the three largest food companies in Brazil – JBS, BRF, and Aurora Alimentos – to phase out sow stalls (metal cages) for mother pigs. BRF and Aurora agreed to keep 100% of the sows in groups by 2026 and all JBS sows will be in groups by 2025. All cages used while sows are pregnant and lactating inflict great physical and psychological stress on mother pigs. They deprive them of the ability to move freely, turning around, and expressing natural behaviour.
Ensured that more than 80 million chickens, 7.2 million pigs, and 480,000 beef cattle experienced less stress, suffering, and a more humane end at slaughter. We did this by training more than 2,200 Brazilian and Chinese slaughterhouse staff in animal care, handling, and treatment.
Worked closely with Nestlé on farm animal protection issues throughout the company. This included verifying Nestlé’s farm assessment program in 12 countries and providing training for Nestlé staff and suppliers. It also involved advising on solutions to identified problems and helping the company develop its global animal protection program.
Joined Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). This new relationship will provide opportunities to help set codes of care for farm animals.
Improved the welfare of 63,423,491 farm animals by working with Thai producer Betagro. The company agreed to give more than one in ten of their sows more space to behave naturally through group housing systems we promoted. They also gave more than one million Betagro chickens better living conditions. In 2017, through its work and research with us, the company had agreed to phase out gestation and lactation cages within 10 years.
Challenged eight of the world’s largest fast-food retailers to improve the lives of chickens after our investigations revealed the shocking conditions in which the animals are raised. In response McDonald’s publicly stated their cage-free commitment to chickens. And nearly 200,000 supporters petitioned KFC to give the chickens better lives, calling for more space, enriched environments, and natural light
Harnessed consumer support against the rise of intensive, indoor dairy farms in the UK through our Full Fact Milk campaign. Thousands of people petitioned their supermarkets asking for labelling to guarantee that the milk they sell is from cows grazed on grass for at least six months of each year. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose issued statements saying that their milk comes from cows that graze for at 100 days a year.
Moved companies including the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), IKEA, A&W, and Tim Hortons to commit to only selling cage-free eggs.
Challenged KFC, through our ‘Change for Chickens’ campaign, to improve conditions for the millions of chickens served to its customers worldwide. More than 250,000 people signed our petition asking KFC to give their chickens better lives. And KFC UK & Ireland agreed to hold further meetings with us to explore how to introduce the welfare improvements we recommend.
Protected millions of pigs in Brazil from painful practices including teeth cutting, surgical castration, and ear notching, through our work with BRF, one of the biggest food producers in the world. We expected that this work would benefit 9 million pigs annually. With our help, BRF also established the ‘Swine Academy’ – an animal welfare training program for their employees.
Celebrated the anticipated protection of 67 million Indian dairy animals when Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana state governments directed dairy farmers to use the National Dairy Code we helped develop. We also moved Kwality Dairy India, the country’s third largest dairy company, to improve conditions for all dairy animals – 430,000 cows and buffaloes – in their supply chain across 4,000 villages in the country.
Exposed the shocking links between intensive pig farming, antibiotic overuse, supermarket pork sourcing policies, and the superbug crisis through our report, ‘Pork and the superbug crisis’. Our investigators found superbugs – bacteria resistant to antibiotics most critically important to humans – in pork on supermarket shelves in Spain, Thailand, and Brazil. Our findings opened doors to discussions with supermarkets on the importance of pig welfare. Superbugs are estimated to kill 1.27 million people every year.
Confronted people head on with the reality of farm animal suffering by exposing them to the foul smell – through innovative scented leaflets – sights and sounds of industrial farming. We launched our campaign in Manhattan, New York City on World Food Day in October and KFC was a particular target. Afterwards, we delivered signatures of more than 500,000 supporters from around the world calling for change to chickens to the company’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
Launched our ‘Raise Pigs Right’ campaign to protect the world’s pigs from the intense suffering that industrial farming causes. We focussed on some of the largest pork producing markets across the world in China, Thailand, Brazil, and the USA. By the year’s end more than 250,000 people had promised to demand better living conditions for pigs on factory farms, reduce pork consumption and purchase meat from high-welfare producers.
Changed the lives of nearly eight million factory-farmed pigs in China, Thailand, Brazil, and the USA. Thanks to our influence, sows were moved from harsh confinement in individual, cramped metal cages to group housing which better suits pigs’ social natures and intelligence. Some companies also agreed to start phasing out painful procedures on piglets like tooth clipping, tail docking and surgical castration.
Called on Walmart in the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico, to set a timeline to end the use of cages for sows. When they refused, we released our report ‘US pork and the superbugs crisis’. Launched during World Antibiotics Awareness week in November, the report revealed that more than half of Walmart's batches tested positive for at least one multi-drug resistant strain, or ‘superbug’. This report is just one of several we have launched since 2018 powerfully highlighting the links between antimicrobial resistance and the cruel industrial farming of animals.
Highlighted how higher welfare chicken production is not as expensive as companies might think through our report ‘Valuing higher welfare chicken’. The report, that we commissioned from Wageningen University and Research Institute in the Netherlands, revealed a cost increase of only 6.4-13.4% above conventional production costs.
Launched Meating Halfway – a unique custom-made 21-day journey and guide encouraging people to eat less meat – as part of our meat reduction campaign in the USA. It includes dietary advice from experts, meat reduction recipes on YouTube ranging from plant-based cottage cheese to meatballs, a free meat reduction starter kit, and discounts from corporate partners. During the year more than 33,000 people joined our meat reduction campaign.
Exposed the shocking links between European investment, factory farming, and deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado for soy and beef production. Both legal and illegal deforestation is carried out for beef and soy production to make animal feed – for factory farmed chickens, pigs, and cows.
Supported Nando’s UK and KFC Denmark, Pizza Hut in Europe, and Popeyes in the USA and Canada to sign up to the ‘Better Chicken Commitment (BCC)’. This commitment features a range of improvements to give broiler chickens better lives including more natural light, space, and the use of slower growing chickens.
Released research that showed that five development banks including the World Bank pumped at least US$4.5 billion of public money into factory farming in the previous decade. We launched this research just before the Finance in Common summit in October attended by more than 500 development banks. We also coordinated the signing of a letter by more than 70 NGOs calling on public development banks to stop funding this industry.
Conducted antibiotic testing in waterways surrounding factory farms Canada, Spain, Thailand, and the USA and found antibiotic resistance genes that are dangerous to people’s health, according to our new research. This research lead to our report ‘Silent superbug killers in a river near you’.
Pushed for higher animal welfare standards in the development of the very first Code of Practice for fish in Canada.
Launched our third edition of ‘The pecking order’. This annual ranking, first produced in 2019, shines a spotlight on the steps eight global fast-food companies take to improve chicken welfare. The low ranking we gave Domino’s Australia for the third year running inspired them to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment. By the end of 2021, this had been adopted by KFC in eight European countries.
Reached more than 1.5 million people with our #AreYouBKidding campaign in November and December demanding that Burger King Brazil give the 3 million chickens on which its business depends better lives. “#AreYouBKidding?” resulted in Burger King Brazil’s executive board contacting us because of the negative PR. We told them we would keep the pressure on until they agreed to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment.
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