At the recent BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards, HRH the Prince of Wales spoke out against the industrialisation of farming.
Criticising the over-use of chemicals such as pesticides and antibiotics in animal rearing, he went on to say, "If an industrialized approach to animal husbandry - which increasingly treats animals as machines in an ever more "efficient" system - carries no risk, then why are we seeing E. coli outbreaks in the United States from cattle raised on feedlots, fed on corn (when their stomachs were designed to cope with grass and leaves) and processed in ever-decreasing numbers of abattoirs as big as car factories?"
We were reminded of the excellent filmed message which HRH sent to Compassion in World Farming in 2007, when we presented him with an award for his contribution to organic farming. Thanking us for the award, he emphasized: "Under organic principles, the health and well-being of farm animals is paramount. However, I believe that animal welfare is central to all farming practices, not just organic farming and it is the responsibility of each and every farmer to ensure that their own animals are kept in conditions that allow them as far as possible to express their natural behaviour, experience freedom of movement and enjoy a natural diet."
He went on to say, "I very much admire the work that Compassion in World Farming has undertaken to promote the welfare of farm animals. CIWF has helped to achieve legal bans on some of the worst factory farming practices and has engaged both farmers and the food industry in its efforts to find better ways forward."
In spite of constant criticism from some vested agribusiness interests, Compassion congratulates Prince Charles for continuing to promote a more environmentally sustainable and more compassionate way of farming.