years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) is the leading international farm animal welfare charity, which works to ban factory farming systems and to achieve high global standards of farm animal welfare within the context of humane and sustainable agriculture.
With such a large population, it is not surprising that China is the world’s largest producer of pork, mutton, rabbit meat and eggs; the world’s second largest producer of chicken meat; and the third largest producer of beef.
Meat consumption is growing fast in China. Between 1990 – 2007, meat consumption per person, per year increased from 23kg to 54kg. Intensive factory farming is also growing fast, helped by government approval, foreign investment and joint ventures and certain global financial institutions.
But this kind of industrial farming has severe problems for animals, people and the planet:
Waste from factory farms can pollute soil, water and air. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
A third of global grains and 90% of soya are used for animal feed, while globally hundreds of millions of people go hungry.
Sadly, animal suffering is inherent in factory farming. Bred for fast growth and high yield of meat, milk or eggs, animals in factory farms can have short lives of misery.
Over-consumption of meat contributes to the obesity crisis and increases risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Crowded pig and chicken factory farms can be breeding grounds for disease.
A policy which supports factory farms can risk squeezing out small-scale, traditional farmers – but smaller farms can better respect animals and the environment and help the rural economy.
Demand for meat and dairy is predicted to double by 2050. This could mean an approximate doubling of the number of farm animals used for meat, milk and eggs per year to 120 billion. Most of these would be confined in factory farms.
In Europe and in certain states of the USA, some of the most inhumane factory farming systems are on their way out. This includes the narrow veal crate for calves, barren battery cages for laying hens and sow stalls (gestation crates) for pregnant pigs.
Public concern for farm animals is at a high enough level to persuade governments and powerful food business interests to bring in laws and standards to better protect animals. There is still a long way to go, but great progress has been made in certain countries in the last few years.
CIWF seeks to raise awareness among Chinese scientists and producers about using more animal welfare-friendly systems and to encourage expansion of animal welfare in good agricultural practice. We organise conferences and workshops and give university and school talks. We also work with the food industry.
Working with the Chinese meat industry journal, CIWF and RSPCA organised the first conference on pig welfare in Beijing in 2005.
With the support of the Chinese Economists’ Society for the Forestry, Livestock & Fisheries Industries, in 2008, CIWF, RSPCA, WSPA and Humane Society International co-organised the first conference in China which looked at the welfare of all farm animals. The conference resolution was: “This conference acknowledges that science has shown that farm animals are sentient beings, and that protecting the welfare of the animals is indispensible to sustainable agricultural development.”
The Proceedings from this event are being published by the European Commission. To request a copy, please contact www.ciwf.org.uk
In 2009, CIWF, RSPCA, WSPA and Humane Society International co-organised a week-long series of conferences for different audiences. This included the first farm animal welfare conference for China’s food industry.
The initiative of a Chinese pig producer , a workshop ‘Welfare-friendly Pig Production’ held in 2010 hopes to become an annual event. CIWF’s China representative will be co-organizing the next workshop.
WSPA have also arranged workshops on their excellent educational resource, ‘Concepts in Animal Welfare’. CIWF’s China representative has been involved in organising the events and recruiting delegates.
The food industry
The retailer IKEA is keen to address animal welfare issues within its global supply chain and we supported the company in locating higher-welfare pig farmers in China. We hope that others will follow.
CIWF’s China representative is an experienced speaker and is available to give talks in schools and universities about farm animal welfare and related issues like the impact of industrial farming on environment, food safety, resources and public health.
Resources for China
CIWF has selected materials in Chinese and aims to produce more. The Proceedings of the 2008 conference, ‘The Importance of Animal Welfare Science to Sustainable Agriculture’, are available in English and Chinese, contact us for details.
‘Animal Welfare Aspects of Good Agricultural Practice: Pig Production’ is an essential tool for agriculture and veterinary educationalists. In factory farms, pigs are denied the opportunity for most natural behaviours which are so important to them. With case studies, film and ppt presentation, GAP Pigs demonstrates more animal welfare-friendly systems. Freely available in English and Chinese
This report outlines the challenges facing the world in producing enough food to feed the world in 2050 and presents the environmental, human health and animal welfare related evidence of why we need to end factory farming. The report presents evidence of the benefits of humane livestock production systems and responsible meat consumption to the environment, climate change mitigation and to human health. Coming soon in Chinese!
This report, published by Compassion in World Farming and Friends of the Earth and written by experts from Austria and Germany, shows that it will be possible in 2050 for each of the world's predicted 9 billion people to have a balanced diet, and that this can be achieved with humane animal farming systems instead of factory farms and without further deforestation and massive land use change. But the options for achieving this aspirational 'fair less meat' diet are greatly enhanced if wealthier societies with a heavy consumption of meat and dairy reduce their intake of animal products. This will also soon be available in Chinese.