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The year the world stood up for farm animals

This has been an extraordinary year for Compassion and the billions of farm animals around the world, who you help us fight to protect.

Together we have navigated our way through a global pandemic, whilst never taking our eyes off our mission: ending factory farming and building a sustainable future for all.

Because you didn’t give up and you didn’t give in, the world is becoming a kinder place for farmed animals.

In the most challenging of circumstances, thank you for changing the world.

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A huge victory against the Cage Age Image © iStockphoto

A huge victory against the Cage Age

Caging farm animals is inhumane and outdated. Trapping animals behind bars prevents them from behaving naturally, and it is a desolate reflection on society. But, thanks to you, the end of the Cage Age is now a huge step closer.

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission responded to your record-breaking European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which saw almost 1.4 million people call for caged farming to be banned.

The Commission announced it will propose legislation to phase out the use of cages for farm animals across all 27 EU Member States. This means that, every year, over 300 million more hens, pigs, calves, rabbits, ducks, geese and quail could live cage-free lives.

  • Because of you, 170 organisations across Europe came together to deliver the biggest ever ECI for animals.
  • Because of you, more than 140 influential scientists, 10 major food companies, MEPs, and even individual European
  • And, because of you, the European Union is set to End the Cage Age.

What next?

  • The European Commission is due to put forward legislation against cages by the end of 2023. We’ll hold them to that promise.
  • The Commission will assess the feasibility of banning cages by 2027. Together, we’ll engage with Member States and citizens to prevent the ban being delayed or blocked by powerful groups with vested interests in caged farming.
  • When big food companies commit to go cage-free, it cuts cruelty for millions of animals. We’ll continue to help businesses transform the lives of animals, and publicly report their progress towards ending the Cage Age through our annual global EggTrack report.
During the ECI project, there were so many moments of darkness, sleepless nights filled with quiet doubt. But, together, we persevered. We regrouped, and we pressed ahead. Our strategy worked, and we are bringing about incredible change for farmed animals. It’s tangible, it’s real, and you made this happen.

Sean Gifford, Global Director of Campaigns, CIWF


More progress against cages


You're halting live exports Image © iStockphoto/Matthäus Rojek

You're halting live exports

Every year, worldwide, millions of animals are subjected to horrific long-distance journeys by land or sea. The result can be exhaustion, dehydration, hunger, stress, trampling, injury, and even death.

But, thanks to intense political lobbying and your relentless campaigning, both the European Union and the UK are taking action against the trade in live animals for slaughter and fattening.

European progress

In 2020, the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to create a Committee of Inquiry into the transport of live animals. The Committee is investigating violations and poor administration of EU legislation on live transport.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has also committed to review the Regulation on the protection of animals during transport.

We are taking your message to the heart of this process. And, so far, over 500,000 people have added their voices, demanding a ban on the live export of animals outside the EU.


In December 2020, following months of targeted campaigning, the UK Government began a consultation on plans to ban the export of live animals.

We immediately launched a petition, which was signed by 111,295 people and submitted to the consultation. Over 27,000 Compassion supporters also called on the Scottish Government to commit to end this trade.

Your voices were heard.

In its 2021 election manifesto, the Scottish National Party performed an astonishing U-turn, and pledged to ban live exports. Then, on 8 June 2021, the UK Government published Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

If this Bill is passed, it will ban live exports for fattening or slaughter from or through England, Wales AND Scotland.

What next?

  • Together, we’ll build on your victory against British live exports and recent European progress, by stepping up our demands for:
    • An immediate ban on the export of live farmed animals for fattening or slaughter outside the European Union.
    • An 8-hour limit to live transport journeys within or between Member States.
    • A ban on the transport of unweaned animals within the EU.
  • We’ll continue to help global companies switch to humane alternatives to long-distance animal transport, and we’ll recognise those who end live exports in their supply chain.
For decades, through public protests, political lobbying and sharing our shocking investigations, Compassion supporters have been at the forefront of the campaign to end UK live exports. Against the odds, you’ve never given up. And, now, you are set to achieve a remarkable Great British live export ban.

Nick Palmer, Head of CIWF UK



More progress against live exports


Rethinking Fish Image © Shutterstock

Rethinking Fish

Fish farming is the fastest growing area of industrial animal production, and it causes immeasurable suffering.

It is also damaging the environment and wildlife. Demand for food for farmed fish is linked to deforestation for soya production and to the capture of around 500 billion wild fish each year.

Certifying fish welfare

In 2020, Compassion investigated the welfare standards behind the five largest fish certification schemes, and found that fish can lead miserable lives in overcrowded tanks and cages, or endure prolonged, painful deaths.

Over 425,000 emails were sent by Compassion supporters, calling on the schemes to do more to protect animal welfare. If the new requirements for fish farming or slaughter announced so far by Global GAP, Friend of the Sea and Best Aquaculture Practices are made mandatory, over three billion fish could benefit each year.

Exposing salmon suffering

In March 2021, you helped expose endemic cruelty within the Scottish salmon farming industry.

Our shocking footage showed fish with sea lice eating their skin, seaweed growing from open wounds, salmon swimming in dirty, deoxygenated water and dead fish floating among the living in overcrowded, barren cages.

The investigation triggered international shockwaves, prompting widespread media coverage and action from campaigners around the globe.

And, so far, over 130,000 signatures have been added to our open letter, urging the Scottish Government to halt the expansion of these underwater factory farms.

European progress

Following intensive work behind the scenes by Compassion, the European Commission has agreed to publish new Strategic Guidelines on Sustainable Aquaculture which, for the first time, address fish welfare. These guidelines will steer policy and the use of subsidies in the EU until 2030.

Plus, thanks to campaigners like you, the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee is set to conduct a study on fish welfare. This could represent an important step towards vital legislation to recognise the needs of fish.

What next?

  • Via direct dialogue and through the Aquatic Animal Alliance, we’ll help ensure fish certification schemes make measurable progress for fish welfare.
  • Through public pressure and lobbying, we’ll build on our EU lobbying successes, to help secure national and international legislation to protect fish.
  • Together we’ll campaign to protect animal welfare in the emerging global market for farmed octopus and other cephalopods.
A huge amount of determination is needed to achieve the much-needed improvements in fish welfare, as it’s a topic that is still very low on politicians’ agenda. Having the public’s support to push for these important changes is crucial, and hugely appreciated. It’s also really motivating to see how the lobbying and technical work we do behind the scenes impacts the political landscape. Seeing that the new EU Commission Sustainable Aquaculture Guidelines has a whole section dedicated to fish welfare is proof that we can make meaningful change for fish.

Dr Krzysztof Wojtas, Head of Fish Policy

More progress towards rethinking fish


Changing the world for chickens Image © iStockphoto

Changing the world for chickens

When it comes to changing the lives of huge numbers of animals, the impact of your support is especially evident for chickens.

The European Chicken Commitment

In 2017 we united with other NGOs to call for food business commitments to better welfare for meat chickens. Since then, over 270 European, and 200 US companies have pledged that, by 2026 (2024 in the US), they’ll rear slower-growing chickens in higher welfare conditions, and use humane slaughter methods.

Compassion supports this progress through guidance for businesses, hosting industry forums, breaking down perceived barriers to improving animal welfare, and engaging with Assurance Schemes.

In 2020/21 alone, big names making the commitment to better chicken included Burger King, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Friday’s and Greggs in the UK; KFC, Groupe Schiever, Fleury Michon, E. Leclerc and Groupe Holder in France; Carrefour in Poland, and Subway and HelloFresh across Europe.

Through our work we estimate that over 1.1 billion chickens a year will have better lives, thanks to you.

Leading the way

Also this year, you have helped our team work with two industry leaders who are transforming the lives of chickens.

In 2018, M&S became the first retailer to make the European Chicken Commitment. Now they’ve become the first to sign a commercial deal that means they’ll sell only higher welfare fresh chicken by the autumn of 2022.

Meanwhile, Les Fermiers de Loué received a Compassion award for their ‘Élections Municipoules 2020’ promotional campaign – which featured spoof election posters and helped put animal welfare on the political agenda.

Achieving honest labelling

More than 60% of retailers in France have now joined the ground-breaking ‘Association Étiquette Bien-Être Animal’ (AEBEA) labelling scheme.

Developed by leading supermarket Casino, in partnership with Compassion and two other NGOs, this label uses 230 criteria to rank chicken products on the animals’ quality of life – giving shoppers a clear choice in store.

What next?

  • We aim to inspire and support a further 20 more companies to make the European Chicken Commitment.
  • Building on the success of AEBEA labelling in France, we’ll work to expand the scheme to other EU countries and species – starting with pigs.
  • We’ll hold businesses to account on progress against their Cage-free egg and Better Chicken Commitments, through our Global EggTrack and the inaugural European ChickenTrack report.
Over 70% of chickens raised for meat globally are raised in intensive industrial farming systems. This includes the majority of chickens in the UK, Europe, the US and China, as well as rapidly increasing numbers in developing countries.

More progress for chickens


Holding industry to account Image © CIWF/France

Holding industry to account

Over 2.23 billion animals a year are now set to benefit from your continued commitment to Compassion’s Food Business programme. And we don’t just help companies commit to higher animal welfare – we also hold them to account.

Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards

Our annual business awards are designed to encourage and recognise food companies when they do the right thing for farm animals.

The 2021 awards also had a special focus on inspiring and innovative examples of sustainable food production. And no less than 11 leading food businesses achieved awards, including:

  • Major Italian manufacturer, Barilla, which has gone cage-free on eggs in over 100 countries AND cut its carbon footprint by using fewer eggs in its products.
  • McDonald’s UK & Ireland, for a rotational grazing scheme that is helping to rebuild soil and increase biodiversity.
  • Happy Eggs, which received the very first Chinese Good Egg Award for their 100% cage-free online sales.
  • And Danone, for an innovative digital tool that supports regenerative farming by helping to improve, dairy cow welfare.

Benchmarking progress for animals

The ninth annual Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) once again gave investors information on the farm animal welfare policies and performance of 150 global food companies.

BBFAW puts pressure on businesses to raise their standards and, this year, 23 businesses moved up at least one tier.

Overall, UK businesses performed highest, but momentum is building in the Latin American and Asia Pacific regions that have some of the biggest names in global meat production, and almost 80% of companies now have improvement goals for farm animal welfare.

what next?

  • We’ll launch the 2022 Supermarket Survey to help major retailers identify improvements they can make for farm animals.
  • In 2021/22 we will aim to secure 15 more Chinese Good Production Award winners, to benefit hens, chickens and pigs.
  • With your support, we’ll help at least 15 companies improve their next BBFAW score, to deliver measurable progress for farm animals.
Compassion in World Farming has been an essential partner for Danone on our animal welfare journey. They have guided us on key achievements, from building and deploying a global animal welfare assessment tool to sharing best practice in the "Farming for Generations" alliance. There's no question, our impact would not be the same without them.

Cees Jan Hollander, Global Farming Expertise Manager, Danone


More Food Business Progress




As well as being devastating for animals, intensive farming is also a major cause of climate change, environmental damage, and threats to human health.

Our food system is in urgent need of reform and, thanks to your vision of a better future for animals, people and the planet, we’re making significant progress towards the goal of a Global Agreement to end factory farming.

Leading the conversation

In December 2020, we grasped the agenda ahead of a year of United Nations summits with a high-profile, online event promoting healthier diets and nature-positive, higher welfare farming.

‘How to Love Food and Save Nature’ was a collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the influential EAT forum. It also featured progressive food businesses and introduced the radical Regenerative Organic certification scheme, developed with input from CIWF USA.

Being the voice for change

In 2021, Compassion’s Global CEO, Philip Lymbery, was appointed as a United Nations Food Systems Champion, representing animal welfare organisations in Europe and beyond.

Through determined negotiation and persuasion, Philip helped put nature-friendly, higher welfare farming and reduced global meat consumption on the radar for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

An influential partnership

Also early in 2021, long-term work behind the scenes bore fruit, when over 25,000 people attended the online launch of ‘Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss’.

This report by the renowned scientific policy institute, Chatham House, was produced in partnership with Compassion and UNEP. It highlights how the global food system is threatening 24,000 species at risk of extinction.

The report gained huge global media coverage, reaching audiences from the UK to Colombia, Nigeria to China, with the message that plant-rich diets and ending factory farming are vital for preserving and restoring biodiversity.

Saving our antibiotics

Antibiotics are often used routinely on intensive farms, to prevent diseases in animals who are stressed, overcrowded or bred to grow unnaturally fast.

As a founding member of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, Compassion highlights this cruel misuse of medicines and how it contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.

Thanks to campaigners like you, the Alliance helped secure an EU ban, from 2022, on the routine preventative farm use of antibiotics. And, this year, it released a ground-breaking research report: ‘Antibiotic Use in Organic Farming: Lowering Use Through Good Husbandry’

This report shows organic farming in the UK may use as little as a quarter of the national average level of antibiotics – clearly demonstrating that higher welfare farming practices may help protect animal and human health.

What next?

  • With your support, we’ll continue to develop our relationships with NGO partners and key UN bodies, to influence policy and planning for food system reform.
  • Through direct dialogue and public campaigning, we’ll help ensure the EU’s ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy meets our goals for animal welfare, reducing antibiotic and pesticide use, and increasing emphasis on organic farming.
  • Together, we’ll develop and launch a new online platform and coalition campaign to create a new global movement for a humane, fair, sustainable food system.
It is time to change how we produce and consume, including to reduce greenhouse emissions. Transforming food systems is crucial for delivering all the Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

More Food Systems Progress



Compassion’s work is entirely dependent on the generosity of those who donate to fight factory farming, protect animals and transform the global food system.

Our thanks to every single individual and organisation who made a gift in the last year, and to all those who have remembered Compassion in their Will.

A summary of our income and expenditure for 1 April 2020 - 31 March 2021 is shown here. For more information, our full Annual Report and Accounts are available online or on request.

Global Income and Expenditure

Global Income and Expediture infographics


Compassion in World Farming’s dedicated teams work on-the-ground across the European Union, in the UK, US, China and South Africa, and collaborate with like-minded organisations around the world.

But it is people like you who are the beating heart of our organisation, and of the global movement to end factory farming.

This year, once again, you’ve shown remarkable dedication, resourcefulness and generosity in the fight against animal cruelty. You’ve never given up, you’ve never given in, and you’ve demonstrated how your resolute compassion can transform the future for farm animals.

During 2020/21, Compassion supporters around the world took 2,489,867 actions to end farm animal suffering and injustice. You raised vital funds through sponsored activities; backed our appeals or made monthly donations; and lobbied politicians through petitions, emails and letters

In the face of ongoing challenges to public events, you took to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – setting #EndTheCageAge trending and, on International Awareness Day, giving #Ban Live Exports a potential reach of over 62 million views.

And, last but not least, you helped ensure that the call to end factory farming had the chance to be viewed or heard at least 12.7 BILLION times through TV, radio and press.

Every achievement on this page is your victory – for animals, and for a fairer, kinder, healthier world. Thank you for uniting, in the face of unprecedented challenges, against factory farming. And thank you for being the relentless, global voice for farm animals.


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If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).