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Presentation-all things Compassion!

Compassion Calderdale is a local group of people who are interested in the work of the charity Compassion in World Farming. I set up the group at the end of 2010 as I was interested in getting together with local people to fundraise and spread the word of  the charity. I believe very strongly in their aim to bring about an end to factory farming by 2050.
I have a mailing list of people who are interested in the work of the charity.  People can have as much or as little involvement  as they like and opt in and out of events that interest them. No one attends every event and some people are happy to get involved at a distance, for example via facebook  ‘Compassion Calderdale’ where I post relevant online petitions and information. We can also be followed on twitter 'CompassionCalderdale'

As you can see this table displays Compassion Calderdales events this year, 2011. Our tin collection in April earned us nearly £125, which was a really pleasing figure for the quiet Sunday that the collection was held on on. The stall we had at Halifax gala was even more successful as we raised £212.
As you can see today’s talk, my first ever, features in the table.
I am really excited for next months event, which will be a stall at Clifton Village on August 13th. If you fancy trying your luck at our tombola pop along. 

Compassion in World Farming is a charity based in the UK which works worldwide to help the 60 billion animals farmed for food each year.
The charities work is going to become increasingly important as it is predicted that by 2050 this number will of doubled to 120 billion animals due to increased demand for meat and dairy.

Peter Roberts the founder of the charity was a dairy farmer that became increasingly worried about the direction that post-war farming was heading. His call to animal welfare charities, to address the issues surrounding intensive farming, went unheard. As a result Peter and his wife started their own charity in 1967 to address these issues.
To this day Compassion in World Farming works towards Peters vision of a world where farm animals are treated with the compassion and respect that they deserve.

Compassion take a variety of approaches to try and bring about positive changes.
They raise awareness of issues via research, undercover investigations, campaigns and education
and push forward change  through political lobbying, engaging the food industry and interesting campaigns.

Some of Compassions earliest educational materials summarise the charities ethos both in the early days and now.

As well as aiming to get a fair deal for farm animals Compassion works to help the farmer,
for e.g. Compassion is lobbying to try to ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP),to be renewed in 2013, rewards farmers who produce good quality food to high animal welfare standards.
If this was the case the CAP would increase the competitiveness of European Farming (versus the rest of the world) as such food is increasingly valued by European consumers.

Smaller scale traditional farmers are also protected by Compassion as they campaign against planning applications for US-style mega-dairies.
As well as the animal welfare implications the fear is that smaller scale farmers would be put out of business by large scale operations and that once one such dairy gets the go ahead then more would more easily follow.

Just recently the charity has won an award for their campaign ‘cows belong in fields’ which led to the withdrawl of plans for a Mega dairy in Nocton, Lincolnshire, which would have been the first of its kind in Western Europe.
This ‘farm’ proposed to subject 8000 cows to a life indoors.
Compassion excellent campaign featured ‘cows belong in fields’ adverts on the sides of buses to raise public awareness and encourage people to stand up against the not so super super-dairy.

As I see it there are many issues that concern the charity and they can be broken down into issues concerned with:
Breeding of farm animals
Rearing of farm animals
Long distance transport &
In humane slaughter
My aim isn’t to shock or distress any of you. I want to give you as much of an overview of the work of the charity so that hopefully you will feel inspired to help farm animals too.
I will work my way through these issues and along the way highlight ways we can address these issues and improve the welfare of farm animals.

I will first address breeding

As many of you will be aware the first mammal cloned from an adult cell was Dolly the sheep in 1996. The process that created Dolly is
called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Since then, many other species have been cloned using this method.
SCNT involves replacing the nucleus of an egg cell with the nucleus from a donour animals body cell. An electrical pulse is used to fuse the egg with the donour nucleus and initiate its development into an embryo.
The embryo is then implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother animal.
Last August, Compassion in World Farming sent 40 David Cameron clones to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister calling for an EU ban on the cloning of animals for food. Although cloning is already being used commercially in some parts of the world for the replication of elite breeding animals, this is not the case in the EU. So you can understand why it was such a scandal when the FSA found that meat from the offspring of a US cloned animal had entered the UK food chain.

Why is cloning an animal welfare issue?
Scientific research shows cloning often involves severe suffering both for the surrogate mothers and for the clones themselves.
Painful births e.g. Cloned calves tend to be heavier than normal which leads to painful births for the surrogate mothers and as a result caesarean sections are often needed. The Caesarean can cause pain and anxiety and often the mother isn't provided with adequate pain relief following the operation.
High mortality rates for clones- most die during pregnancy. However of those that survive pregnancy up to 35% die during or shortly after birth or in the early weeks of life from a range of problems including heart failure, respiratory difficulties, muscle and joint problems and defective immune systems.

Indirect welfare issue-
Cloning allows the proliferation of the genetics associated with the suffering of genetically engineered animals and those selectively bred for high productivity, such as increased levels of lameness, mastitis and infertility in dairy cows and cardiovascular disorders in pigs.

Other concerns- threat to livestock genetic diversity
The world’s livestock diversity is currently shrinking.
Although some might suggest that cloning could be used to replicate rare and endangered livestock breeds, and preserve genetic diversity, the reality is that this is unlikely to happen. The commercial use of cloning, to replicate elite breeding animals, is likely to further contribute to the erosion of livestock genetic diversity.
Reduction in genetic diversity increases the susceptibility of livestock populations to diseases and other risk factors. This raises the possibility of large numbers of animals succumbing to diseases to which they are susceptible, with potentially serious animal welfare, social and economic consequences.

Do we need cloning to feed the world?
Cloning is an inefficient way of feeding the growing world population.

This video provides a good example of selective breeding and the negative welfare implications it can have.
Compare these two chicks.
The one on the left has been selectively bred to lay lots of eggs.
The one on the right has been selected for meat production.
The meat chicken grows very fast, reaching slaughter weight in six or seven weeks.
However, putting on weight this fast has its consequences. The body gets too big for the legs, which can then collapse under the strain. This further restricts the birds from accessing food in the overcrowded environment resulting in increased mortalities. The birds are forced to sit in their own waste causing painful hock burns.

A solution is to breed birds which grow at a more moderate rate.
These birds take longer to reach maturity. They suffer fewer leg problems and mortality has been less than 2%.

I will now go on to discuss issues of concern with regards to the rearing of farm animals. This section will form the bulk of my presentation.
It can often be hard to think about what the natural environment and behaviours of an animals are. Take the pig for example. This video demonstrates natural behaviour for pigs.

Around 250 MILLION pigs are slaughtered each year within the EU with the vast majority being reared in industrial systems , where they experience conditions which are far from natural.
Inability to express natural behaviours causes stress and frustration for the animal, which can often be displayed as stereotypic behaviours.

This pig is in a cage just big enough to fit her body inside The system is illegal in Britain, but widely used in the rest of the world. She is put in the cage as soon as she is pregnant. All there is to do for the whole pregnancy is stand, lye and bite the bars, she can’t even turn around or interact socially with other pigs
Compassion in World Farming believe that this is cruel. This animal cannot carryout the most basic of natural behaviours.
PERSONALLY I find it strange how as a society we would not let other domesticated animals live like this, for eg, cats and dogs, so why should the standards be any different for the animals we farm?

Stereotypies can also occur in less confined systems if an animals natural behaviour is not accommodated for. For example if pigs are not provided with plenty of fibre.
The lack of a natural diet has led to these sows sham-chewing as they are suffering from hunger.

Unnatural living conditions with many individuals in a small area can lead to aggression, for example during feeding.

There are efforts that farmers can go to allow animals to use their natural foraging behaviour e.g.the use of scatter feeding systems.By scattering the animals food within bedding material aggression is avoided and enrichment is provided as the pigs bury into the straw to find food.
As I mentioned earlier Compassion is lobbying to try to ensure that the CAP will support farmers who implement systems like this one, as they improve the welfare of their animals.

In the same way that the inability to carryout foraging behaviour causes frustration so do restrictions on an animals ability to carryout innate maternal behaviour.
Again, take for example domestic pigs-
If she is in an environment where she is able to the sow will separate from the group and becomes solitary 1-3 days before giving birth. She will explore her surroundings for a suitable place to build a nest.
Building will start 24 hours the onset of labour when the sow experiences a rise in prolactin levels.

The video I will show you in a moment shows how without nesting material the sow goes through a repetitive nesting behaviour, resulting from her frustration. She carries out the nesting action but is simply scratching at the barren environment as there is no nesting material available. Higher blood cortisol than normally associated with this time indicates her stress. This not only has welfare implications for the sow but for the piglets too as pre-partal stress can result in slow birth and lactation problems. This stress can also inhibit oxytocin levels in the sow which is thought to lower the responsiveness of the sow to her piglets and even increase savaging.


This slide demonstrates the farrowing crate, established since the late 1950s, were designed to minimise piglet losses by crushing and to improve the ability for human intervention. It is this crate that prevents sows, in industrial systems, from being able to carry out their natural behaviour.
Although it was initially suggested that a ‘nest feeling’ is provided by the enclosed crate. It is now clear that this is not the case!

There are new efforts in in many parts of Europe to find better systems for farrowing.
This system has been set up in an agricultural college in the UK to replace their farrowing crates. As you can see the animals are less restricted and there is bedding material provided.
This system has improved the welfare of the animals without an increase in piglet mortality.
It is systems like these that Compassion support so that farmers can run an economically viable business' with better animal welfare standards.

What is interesting is that mortality of piglets outdoors is lower, despite the fact that outdoor breeding systems do not use farrowing crates, whilst indoor systems mostly still do. It begs the question of whether there is actually any benefit to these stalls when it comes to piglet mortality.
Ideally, Compassion would like to see all pigs kept outdoors on a free range basis. The charity is currently concerned at the large scale and indoor nature of ‘mega farms’ such as the proposed pig farm at Foston, Derbyshire. The proposal plans to house 2,500 sows and their offspring indoors on one site.

 Egg-laying chickens provide another example of farm animals suffering because of their  inability to carry out natural behaviour. Both traditional and modern breeds of chicken, if given the chance, will find a secluded place to make a nest before laying an egg.

To the chicken, the lack of a nest is probably the cruellest thing about the battery cage.
The following video demonstrates the effort a chicken will go to to lay its egg in a nest.

You may have heard that there is a proposed ban on the barren battery cage due to come into force at the start of 2012.
Although CIWF would prefer to see all hens free ranging they are supporting the move to the enriched cage as it will provide some improvements to hen welfare.
These cages have slightly higher minimum space requirements, although still less floor area than an A4 sheet of paper. Each cage can house from less than 10 up to 60+ hens.
Cages have to have nest boxes, litter, perch space and ‘claw shortening devices.’
These changes are a positive step as they will allow some natural behaviour to be expressed.
The collection Compassion Calderdale carried out in Leeds rail satation ‘change for change’ will go towards helping to secure the ban of the barren battery cage.

Even if we ban the battery system in the EU in 2012, we will still, according to world trade laws, have to import battery eggs from outside the EU.
It would be great to see a change in the rules of the World Trade Organisation to allow import bans on cruel foods. If this is not the case it is worth remembering this when buying eggs and other animal products too. The animal welfare standards we set in this country are not necessarily met when we eat imported food. 
As well as buying free-range eggs check the ingredients on egg containing products. If it’s not on the packet, it’s not free-range!. I know that M & S only use free range eggs in their products but this certainly isn’t the case across the board. Organic products will use organic eggs which will be free-range.
Also, be aware that free-range UNLIKE organic status it a term often used quite loosely so one companies definition may very from anothers. It’s often easier to know the conditions your eggs came from by buying locally and seeing the farm first.
Do remember though no matter where you get them from all free-range eggs will be produced from happier hens than those in cages!

CIWF Set up Good Egg awards in 2007 to celebrate companies who commit to sourcing cage-free eggs – from hens leading more natural lives in free-range or barn systems.
This provides an ideal opportunity for concerned individuals to encourage their local council/ companies to switch to more ethically sourced eggs.

You may have seen the chicken out campaign which is run by Hugh Fearnely- Whittingstall and CIWF.
Chicken Out hates the fact that 90% of UK meat chickens are raised in intensive systems to bring consumers low price meat.
Around 700 million broiler chickens are reared in intensive systems in the UK every year.
Bred to increase weight rapidly, at least 25% of them suffer from lameness and discomfort related to their excessive growth rates and millions of broiler chickens die from heart and lung failure, before they reach their slaughter age.
“The Chicken Out! campaign aims to put an end to chickens being reared in unacceptable industrial systems. Compassion in World Farming is delighted with the achievements to date and hopes to continue raising the profile of the important issue of chicken welfare.
If everyone makes a change the lives of chickens can be changed and very rapidly too- sales of higher welfare chicken increased by 42% between December 2007 and December 2008!

This image demonstrates a typical industrial chicken 'farm'.

Reducing crowding is a high priority for improving the environments of meat chickens AS WELL as farming slower growing breeds as we saw earlier
This is required by higher welfare indoor systems such as this one run by the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme in the UK. The sheds have effective environmental control systems and the density is kept to 30 kg/m2.
For people who cannot afford free-range chicken this is a very good switch to make and is widely available.

The provision of perches and straw bales can also improve the environment.

Again, as have seen earlier the best enrichment is provided outdoors!
Free range meat is affordable if people eat meat the way it was eaten fifty years ago, when meat was seen as a luxury food rather than an every day/every meal necessity. CIWF would like to see the population eat less meat and for the meat to be of better quality (welfare)

If you think you would find it hard to cut down meat consumption why not make it easier for yourself by making the switch gradually. An easy way to start is to swap foods with meat in/on them for their vegetarian alternatives eg. Pre-packed sandwiches, pizzas, quiches and pies.
The meat on these foods would make a difference to animal welfare as this meat is almost always NOT free-range. Unless it says on the packet then its not free-range. 

Also, a decrease in the number of days you eat meat is a great way you can make a difference. If you want to substitute the meat there are plenty of vegetarian substitutes out there now. In dishes such as Bolognese and chilli you will barely notice the difference. An added benefit is that the alternatives will be a lot lower in fat e.g. a quorn Bolognese will be 75% lower in fat than a beef one! The money on the days you eat no meat could be used to purchase a good quality piece of meat so that you can really appreciate and enjoy your meat eating day. Higher welfare meat contains substantially less fat than that from industrial farms so the result will be an increase in your health too!

I will now run through the other benefits to eating less meat, seen on this slide.

Now that I have addressed unnatural rearing environments and how we can improve this, I will come back to discussing another problem issue associated with raising farm animals!
Many mutilations are carried out to animals carrying out damaging behaviors as a direct result of the environment they are reared in, for example. beak trimming to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism which occurs when chickens are kept in industrialised systems.

On animal that has to experience a number of mutilations is the pig.
To avoid meat being ‘tainted’ by the male sex hormone testosterone. The testes are removed through slits in the scrotum.
Anaesthetics are rarely used even though the procedure causes severe pain
Castration is not usually supposed to be performed in the UK however it is in countries that supply the UK with pig meat.
In The Netherlands, anaesthesia with CO2 has been developed for castration, although scientific research shows that CO2 is aversive to pigs and may make the procedure even more distressing.
Compassion believes that castration should be banned throughout the EU.

Another mutilation commonly carried out is the docking of tails in pigs.
This video demonstrates this procedure.
Scientific research shows that the best way to prevent tail biting is not to dock the tails, but to keep the pigs in good conditions.
Without overcrowding and lack of stimulation pigs do not need to tail-bite.

Piglets are born with sharp incisors which they use to compete and demand the best teat. As these teeth can sometimes cause injuries to other piglets and to the sows udder the piglets incisors are cut off with clippers.
This painful procedure damages the teeth leaving them prone to infection.
Infection can lead to abscesses and long-term pain.

EU law states that neither tail docking nor teeth clipping should be carried out routinely but only where there is evidence that injuries have occurred.
It also states that before carrying out these procedures other measures should be taken to prevent the problems by considering the animals environment ie- how stimulating it is and stocking densities.
Also, pigs should legally have permanent access to material to investigate and manipulate eg straw/sawdust.

CIWFs investigations are crucial in helping to ensure that the law is enforced.
In 2007 an investigation revealed illegal farming conditions across the EU.
During the 18 month investigation CIWF and ECFA (European coalition for animal welfare) visited 74 farms in the EU. What they found is summarised in the table above. As you can see the figures speak for themselves- these mutilations were being carried out routinely across the EU! In some countries these mutilations were happening on 100% of farms.
The undercover investigator commented that the situation was very similar in all countries- bare floors, little space and very dirty conditions. They were horrified to think that most meat sold in supermarkets and restaurants comes from animals kept in these conditions.

An e-card can be sent on your behalf in seconds!

Animals are sometimes transported long distances to be reared further on other farms eg fattening
Also, with more and more local slaughter houses closing all the time … there is often a greater distance to travel to them. Often animals are transported overseas to be slaughtered abroad.

Compassion is opposed to the live export and long distance transport of farm animals for slaughter or for fattening and want strict maximum journey times and much better conditions within vehicles
Partly thanks to Compassions work, European Union laws on animal transport have brought in some welcome measures, such as improved vehicles and in some cases, better enforcement of the law.

Male dairy calves which can’t provide milk have little economic value and are often shot at birth. Those that are not shot may be shipped abroad to meet demand for veal. Calves are currently being exported from our country at the port of Ramsgate. After the long journey across the channel the calves may have a long journey by road before they reach the country they will be reared in. They will be reared in conditions illegal in the UK. The cretaes they are commonly kept in were made illegal here in 2007!
If you are interested in helping Compassion to bring an end to these exports follow this link: 

Another way you can help these male dairy calves is to buy organic milk. Soil association certified organic farms have never and will never allow the sale of calves to continental style veal systems, or any other non-welfare frinedly or intensive system. Another option is to replace milk with vegan alternatives soya, rice, almond, hazelnut, oat, coconut 'milk' and more...

Some journeys can take weeks for example from Australia to the middle east with many animals dying from the cramped conditions and lack of food and water.
If the animals do survive export the fate that awaits them can be horrendous.
You may have seen in the media last week the public outcry after footage of the mistreatment of cattle In 11 Indonesian abbatoirs. The cattle had been exported by Australia and so Australia immediately called a ban on the exports. However after Indonesia suggested that a permanent ban would be put in force if export did not resume right away, the exports have started up again.
A similar situation had happened before when undercover footage was taken inside a Cairo abbatoir to which Australia export. Cattle were having their tendons cut to restrain them. Again, this time after several months, the exports started again. In fact, the first shipment sent to Cairo after the ban was lifted took longer than planned with many cattle on board dying.

I’m not going to go into any detail here today, for obvious reasons. The internet is full of extra information about this if you really want to look. There is a little more information in some of the books that I will recommend at the end of the presentation.
I would like to highlight a particular campaign that I am aware of from another charity who are currently campaigning to get supermarkets to get their suppliers to have CCTV in slaughter houses. I have brought some postcards today which can be signed and sent off to the supermarkets which have yet to agree. CCTV could be used to ensure that laws are enforced!

As I mentioned on the export slide many male dairy calves are shot at birth. Last year 80 000 were shot in the UK alone- this was actually a decrease on previous years as some farmers are beginning to rear these males for meat, for eg Blades rearing system that featured on Country File, see: Blades calf rearing system

These Uk farms are the best place to sources veal if you are going to eat it.
It is also another reason to buy organic milk and dairy products because organic dairy farmers have to explore options to rear all calves instead of shooting them.

As well as the benefits to animal welfare organic milk and dairy have benefits for our health and the environment.
Scientists at Newcastle University ave foundh that organic milk is higher in beneficial nutrients and fatty acids throughout the year.
Organic milk and dairy products contain more beneficial nutrients than non-organic - because organic cows eat more grass (and conserved grass in winter), and less unnatural feed like maize and soya.
It’s interesting that research has also found that mothers who eat organic dairy products and drink organic milk have more beneficial nutrients in their breast milk and organic mum’s children suffer more than a third less eczema up to their second birthday than children of non-organic mums.

We have seen a variety of ways in which farm animals pay the cost for so called cheap food.
However I hope that you have also seen that together we can cross factory farming out!


Some of the things that I have read and found very informative and interesting.

Other websites I like to look at in addition to Compassion's website, which touch on similar issues, include Pig business and WSPA- who have a particularly interesting campaign and video against milk from battery cows.
An interesting video can be seen here: NOT IN MY CUPPA

 Join the campaign by saying not in my cuppa’ at

Thanks for taking the time to listen to my presentation