We should include all life in our circle of compassion and we must listen to our hearts, not our heads. That was the clear message from our patron, Dame Joanna Lumley, as she delivered a lecture on compassion to a packed theatre at the weekend (2nd April) in honour of our founder, Peter Roberts MBE.
Dame Joanna’s thoughts on Compassion
The BAFTA-winning actress, TV presenter and longstanding champion for animal welfare shared her thoughts on the true meaning of compassion at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre saying: “What has happened to us? We have become a kind of virus, eating too much meat for our own health. Eighty billion farm animals are slaughtered every year and 70% are reared in factory farms.
“Peter Roberts taught me that it’s not enough not to harm something. You have to fight to do the right thing. By engaging with like-minded spirits it really helps us to be stronger together.”
The event, part of the 25th annual Oxford Literary Festival, saw Dame Joanna interviewed on stage by our Global CEO, Philip Lymbery. Among the many topics discussed were how she developed empathy for animals developed as a young girl, her admiration for Her Majesty the Queen, and what made her become such a dedicated Compassion supporter.
Words from our CEO
Philip, who is also the best-selling author of books Farmageddon and Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were, said: “I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to discuss the true meaning of compassion with our dear friend Joanna Lumley today, particularly at a time when there is so much conflict in the world.
“Factory farming remains the biggest cause of cruelty on the planet. But there is a better way, based on compassion and kindness – ending all cages and letting animals experience the joy of living.”
How our charity began
Peter Roberts and his wife, Anna, established our charity from the kitchen table of their Hampshire dairy farm in 1967 after they became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. They took up the cause of farm animal welfare and the disconnect between food production and nature at a time when few others shared their concern.
They would be proud that, today, Compassion is a powerful global movement, with offices in 12 countries, achieving profound advancements in farm animal welfare and highlighting the impacts of factory farming on animals, people and our planet.
Watch our video to find out more about our history.