On Wednesday, 21st October, the University of Winchester presented an honorary doctorate to our ambassador, Joyce D’Silva. Formerly our Chief Executive, Joyce has worked on the behalf of farm animals across the globe, for over three decades.
Professor Andrew Knight introduced Joyce by saying: “Just occasionally one comes across a person with power, drive and sheer persistence to make changes that are really big in the world.”
Joyce recounted a defining moment for her, within her illustrious career, when visiting a large chicken company, some years ago; saying: “Every week their slaughterhouse “processed” thousands of chickens for the supermarkets. Most of these creatures had been kept – as chickens usually are – in huge sheds, each containing 20,000 or more birds. Bred to grow at a phenomenal rate, the chicks would go from one-day-old to supermarket-ready in just six weeks.
“Many would suffer from painful lameness due to their speedy growth rates. But the director of this company was keen to show me the new free range and organic chicken farms they had set up, and they were far better.
“Back in the office, I asked him “Why have you gone down the free range/organic route?” expecting him to answer “market trends, getting ahead of the competition” or something similar. What he actually said was, “I want to be able to tell my children what I do.” I think that’s a really good criterion to use when you are deciding on a career.”
At the ceremony, Professor Carter said: “Go out into the world with compassion, courage and curiosity and with a great determination to make the world a better place.”
It’s fair to say that Joyce has been doing just that, for many years.
Congratulations Dr D’Silva.
Earlier this year, we formed a strategic partnership with the university, demonstrating its long-term commitment to improving the lives of farm animals.
It is currently leading the way with its on-campus catering, striving to source only free range, organic and local meat and dairy. To that end, the University is a multiple award-winner for its higher animal welfare sourcing policies. In 2009, Winchester was the first university in the UK to receive a Good Chicken Award and a Good Egg Award from Compassion.