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Roaming Wild: The Founding of Compassion in World Farming

News Section Icon Published 6/30/2023

Peter Roberts speaking with farm minister about a hoped-for ban on cages, mid 1970's
©Compassion in World Farming

‘Roaming Wild: The Founding of Compassion in World Farming’ launched last week (30th June), explores the little-known inspiring story of our founders Anna and Peter Roberts MBE, who were pioneers in the field of animal welfare. Although the couple have now passed away, their story, written by their granddaughter, Emma Silverthorn, explores the paths that led them to set up Compassion in 1967 from a back room in their home with sparse funds and little support from contemporaries.

The fascinating book is part biography and part history of post war farming, illustrated with personal and political photographs.

Ahead of their time

The foreword, written by our Global CEO, Philip Lymbery, who is also the couple’s son-in-law, identifies how Anna and Peter were ahead of their time in making the connections between food, farming, famine and the soil.

“In this book, we go deep into the heart of that family to find out what motivated them, what inspired them to stand out from the crowd. It leads us through their lives, their trials, their tribulations and their sacrifices. It unearths their personal and public battles, conducted with a fearless integrity.”

A prescient vision

“This is a fascinating and touching book, about an organisation with which I’ve worked and whose ethos I’ve loved for many years,” said our fantastic supporter and vet, Dr Emma Mine. 

“Compassion in World Farming is built on respect and, of course, compassion for animals. It’s clear from this book that the founders, Peter and Anna, were deeply compassionate about the world and the people affected by our farming attitudes too. This is a very open and honest account of the lives of the Roberts family and the people with whom they worked tirelessly for a better life for farmed animals. I hope that the more people who read about their prescient vision of what intensive farming would do to the world, the faster the change towards a truly better, and more compassionate world for both animals and people will be.”

Our loyal patron and actor, Peter Egan, added: "This is a biography of a relationship made in heaven but firmly rooted on earth, a love not only for each other but for our wonderful planet and all those species with whom we share it, particularly those animals imprisoned in our food systems. Two amazing people, Anna and Peter Roberts, whose kindness and empathy turned compassion into action and founded Compassion in World Farming. I urge you to read it.”

Modern farming’s staunchest critics

In the book, Emma writes about how her grandparents were staunch critics of modern farming and saw the countryside as an ecosystem of fellow creatures and farming as part of nature. She says:

“It has been a privilege and an enlightening experience to be the person to write my Grandparent’s biography. Although we were very close, I had not, until writing this book, fully understood the radical scope of their environmental, welfarist and compassionate vision. Their legacy is a powerful and galvanising one and my wish is that on reading ‘Roaming Wild’ you too are inspired by their lives!”

Roaming Wild is available to buy online. 40% of the royalties from book sales will go to Compassion in World Farming.

The publishers have been kind enough to offer our supporters a 20% discount when purchasing the book. Enter the promotional code CIWF20 at checkout. This offer will run until the end of September 2023.


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