Compassion in World Farming

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Formation1967; 57 years ago (1967)
FounderPeter Roberts
Registration no.1095050
PurposePromoting animal welfare
MethodsAdvocacy, public education, research
Chief Executive
Philip Lymbery

Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) is a campaigning and lobbying animal welfare organisation. It campaigns against the live export of animals, certain methods of livestock slaughter, and all systems of factory farming. It has received celebrity endorsements and been recognized by BBC Radio 4 for its campaigning. It has grown to a global movement with partners and supporters concerned about the welfare of farm animals.[1]


Peter Roberts and Anna Roberts were Hampshire dairy farmers, who founded Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) in 1967. After they realized there was some public support, the Roberts couple had unsuccessfully appealed to contemporary animal welfare groups to campaign against factory farming. Undeterred, the Roberts's began their own campaign. Peter Roberts retired in 1991.[2][3] He was replaced as Chief Executive by Joyce D'Silva, who served until 2005 and now serves as ambassador.[4]  Philip Lymbery, co-author of Farmageddon, is the current Chief Executive.[5] CIWF has offices in the UK, Italy, Netherlands, France, Poland, the United States, Brussels and China. Representatives are located in Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, South Africa, and Sweden.[6] CIWF was responsible for the veal crate ban in the UK, as well as bans on narrow stalls and chains on pregnant sows. The European Union recognised animals as sentient beings as a result of their petition.[7] In June 2023, Emma Silverthorn, the granddaughter of Anna and Peter Roberts, published a biography of the Roberts and a history of the charity titled Roaming Wild, the Founding of Compassion in World Farming in 2023 (Whittles).


Compassion in World Farming does not support violence or threats;[8][9] rather, it campaigns peacefully for the humane treatment of farm animals, which members accept will be killed and eaten.[10] The London Evening Standard has called it "the most rational of the groups that campaign about animal welfare and the environment."[11] In addition to advocacy, it produces educational material for school children,[6] and has fought against what it calls industry-sponsored propaganda.[12] To celebrate and promote good animal welfare practices, it presents awards including the Good Egg,[13] Good Chicken,[13] Good Dairy,[14] and Good Pig.[15] Its undercover investigations have revealed animal cruelty to hens,[16] cattle,[17] pigs,[18] and sheep.[19]

CIWF advocates free range systems, but accepts straw-bedded indoor systems for pigs.[15] It has warned about factory farming of dairy cattle, which it says is neither economically beneficial for farmers nor healthy for cows.[20] It has advocated a complete ban on fur farming in Ireland, which it describes as "one of the most serious animal welfare problems facing Ireland today".[21] In 2002, it called for a global moratorium on all experimental or commercial cloning of farm animals.[22] It opposes the practice of live export of farm animals for slaughter, instead advocating that the animals be slaughtered before transport.[23] In support of this position, its supporters have demonstrated in London,[23] Ipswich,[24] Belfast,[25] Ramsgate,[26] and Dover.[27] It has also campaigned to maintain a ban on the live transport of horses.[28] It supports a ban on foie gras, calling this "an example of intensive farming at its worst".[29]

Celebrity supporters have included Joanna Lumley, who spoke against long distance animal transport,[30] and Paul McCartney, who advocated for reduced consumption of meat products.[31] In 2010, Jo Brand, Bill Oddie, Zac Goldsmith, Marc Abraham, and William Roache endorsed CIWF's protest against factory farming of cattle by Nocton Dairies.[32] Early supporters include Spike Milligan and Celia Hammond, who protested against battery cages.[7]


In 2007, CIWF won the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award for the best food campaigner/educator.[33] In 2009, it won the Broadcast Digital Award for Best Use of Interactive for their Chicken Out! website.[34] In 2011, it won a Third Sector Excellence Award for its annual review[35] and The Observer's Ethical Award for Campaigner of the Year.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Our story". Compassion in World Farming. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  2. ^ D'Silva, Joyce (22 November 2006). "Peter Roberts". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Last Word". BBC Radio 4. 8 December 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Joyce D'Silva – Ambassador". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  5. ^ Siegle, Lucy (18 January 2014). "Have vets really sold out to industrial agri-business?". The Observer. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b Halliday, Claire (3 July 2006). "Compassion on the menu". The Age. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Peter Roberts". The Daily Telegraph. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Peter Roberts". The Economist. 30 November 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  9. ^ Penman, Danny (4 February 1995). "Extremists vow to avenge their 'martyr'". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  10. ^ Kirby, Alex (9 May 2003). "Animals 'are moral beings'". BBC News. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  11. ^ Renton, Alex (31 January 2014). "Eat less meat or else the planet will starve". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  12. ^ Morrison, Ian (30 April 1986). "Susie the cow tells 'tales' in the classroom". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  13. ^ a b Hickman, Martin (15 July 2010). "Waitrose named compassionate supermarket of the year". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Organic dairy wins acclaim". The Northern Echo. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  15. ^ a b Barford, Vanessa (18 October 2012). "The bewildering labelling of pork". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  16. ^ "'Cruel' battery hen farming attacked". BBC News. 23 November 1998. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  17. ^ "Spy video reveals Irish cattle cruelty". Irish Independent. 16 April 1998. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Pigs kept in 'shocking conditions'". BBC News. 6 January 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Animal export 'video nasty'". BBC News. 19 April 2000. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Day of the battery cow upon us". Irish Independent. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  21. ^ Sheehan, Aideen (4 December 2004). "Protesters call for a complete ban on fur farming". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  22. ^ D'Silva, Joyce (4 January 2002). "Head-to-head: Cloning". BBC News. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Protesters herded on to tube train". BBC News. 25 March 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  24. ^ "RSPCA's legal threat if Ipswich port resumes live animal exports". BBC News. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  25. ^ "Protest against live exports". BBC News. 7 March 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  26. ^ "Kent sheep deaths anniversary marked". BBC News. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Live exports campaigners use Dover's white cliffs". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  28. ^ "Fight for horses goes to No 10". BBC News. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  29. ^ Prince, Rose (3 April 2012). "Is there too much fuss about foie gras?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  30. ^ "Joanna Lumley backs long distance animal transport ban". BBC News. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Sir Paul McCartney urges meat-free day to cut CO2". BBC News. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  32. ^ "More famous faces join the fight against plans for Nocton super-dairy". Lincolnshire Echo. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  33. ^ "Former restaurant chef's return to school leads to Radio 4 Food & Farming Award". BBC Radio 4. 28 November 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  34. ^ McMahon, Kate (19 June 2009). "iPlayer guru honoured at Broadcast Digital Awards". Broadcast. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  35. ^ "Third Sector Excellence Awards 2011: Annual Report - Winner: Compassion in World Farming". 4 October 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  36. ^ "Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011". The Observer. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2014.

External links[edit]