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News Icon 24/10/2013

This isn’t about the government banning debeaking or antibiotics in animal feed. Or any other of factory farming’s cruel practices we seek to stop.

This is about banning Compassion in World Farming.

Banning Compassion from educating the public with the facts about factory farming. Why it’s wrong for the animals, bad for the environment, dangerous for ourselves, and disastrous for feeding the world.

Attempts are being made to silence us. But we are determined to speak out. And, with your help, we will.

Our ad from the 1980s, “Welcome to the Battery,” is already banned from being shown in the cinema in your High Street. (But you can watch it on YouTube). Skip forward to 2013 and we are still prevented from running TV adverts about antibiotics in chicken feed and the EU’s failure to implement its ban on pig stalls alongside those urging you to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.

What can and cannot be said in TV ads in the UK — and whether you’re even permitted to advertise — is determined by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP).  The BCAP, which is made up of representatives of advertisers, agencies, media owners and other industry groups, is responsible for writing, maintaining and advising on the UK Advertising Codes.

The BCAP Advertising Codes classifies ads from organisations such as Compassion as political and prohibits them.

Section 7.2.1(a) determines an ad is political when it is “inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature”.

Section 7.2.2(f) also defines an ad as political when it seeks to “influence public opinion on a matter which, in the United Kingdom, is a matter of public controversy”.

There is something fundamentally wrong with our society when the products of factory farming can be so freely promoted in any medium with huge promotional budgets but the truth about how those products are produced is kept from the public when our voice is denied.

I also fear the so-called Ag-Gag laws in the USA, which make it illegal to report cruelty on factory farms, could end up in our country.  Access to information that should be in the public domain seems to be increasingly difficult to obtain. For example, the European Union will not say how many EU pig farms are breaching the EU sow stall ban.

Recently, I wrote here about how animal welfare is being hijacked by policy makers, industry lobbyists and scientists as “technical measurables”. All too often they become excuses to carry on factory farming and other cruel and unnecessary practices. It’s happening in subtle and disturbing ways. Not least by the present UK government which, under the pretence of cutting back red tape, seeks to free up businesses to make more profits. But will it be at the expense of our hard fought for victories in farmed animal welfare? It’s this government which is also committed to “sustainable intensification” which can only be a euphemism for factory farming.

Notwithstanding this uneven playing field, I believe people oppose factory farming.

But I need your help. I want to make the film about factory farming that we would show IF we were allowed to advertise on television. We will keep film production costs as low as possible. Then, we will have more money available for its distribution. I want to see the film widely available wherever people now go to get information for free, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, on our website.

I know I frequently ask you to take action for animals. But this is one of those rare occasions when I am asking you to make a financial contribution toward our film they don’t want seen. Please make as generous a donation as you can afford today. 

Compassion will not be silenced!

Thank you!


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