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Peter Roberts MBE, 7 June 1924 - 15 November 2006

News Section Icon Published 15/11/2007

On the first anniversary of the passing of our founder Peter Roberts MBE, we reflect on his life and inspiration.

From their home in Hampshire, Peter and his wife Anna founded Compassion in World Farming in 1967. As dairy farmers, they were horrified by the modern intensive agricultural practices that were quickly becoming commonplace: systems that confined animals into small spaces and that treated animals as a commodity not a sentient being.

Born in Rugeley, Staffordshire the son of a GP, Peter began his agricultural career at Harper Adams Agriculture College.

After war-time service in the Far East, Peter and Anna settled down to a dairy farming life in Hampshire. Their idyllic lifestyle waned as they became increasingly concerned about the fate of their own animals, particularly calves that they feared would end up in barren veal crates.

Further moved by news of the importation of US systems of intensive farming of chickens, Peter initiated a campaign against the keeping of hens in battery cages. And so Compassion in World Farming was born.

For those who worked with Peter, he was a wealth of knowledge about farm animals and much more, he knew how to run an organisation in a hostile arena; how to never give up but keep on campaigning; and how to make the case for farm animals with strength but with respect for the audience, be it Minister, the public or the factory farmer.

In this, our 40th year, we continue working to end cruel farming systems and resolve never to forget our vision of a world where farm animals do not suffer. We are determined to continue the work of Peter Roberts and the achievements he enabled us to make over the past four decades.

Read more about Compassion in World Farming's history & achievements.