I was privileged to be at the European Parliament in Brussels this week, chairing the annual animal welfare conference for Eurogroup for Animals. Over the years, I have seen many distinguished people receive the Eurogroup award for outstanding commitment to animal welfare, and this year was no different. Well deserved awards went to the Swedish MEP, Marit Paulsen, a legendary woman and passionate advocate for animals for many years; and to the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing; congratulations to them both.
What happened next took me by complete surprise. All award winners were secret until announced, so I was sitting facing the crowd when the third and final award was read out, completely shattering my carefully crafted moderator’s poise! It was an emotional moment and a real honour to be named recipient of Eurogroup’s ‘outstanding campaigning’ award for Farmageddon and the subsequent campaign to bring factory farming into the mainstream of the sustainable food debate.
The award was presented by Eurogroup President, Major General Peter Davies, and Director, Reineke Hameleers, describing Farmageddon as having “shaken up Europe and the rest of the world quite a bit regarding a very important topic: the way we produce our food. He has revealed in a very clear and accessible fashion that if we continue industrial food production we’ll be in big trouble.”
Reineke added: “This landmark publication will help the animal welfare network to show the world that animal welfare is not a stand-alone issue but that it’s inextricably connected to our well-being, health, nature and economy.
“EU decision makers tend to live up to the expression hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil which is no longer possible after having read Farmageddon.”
I cannot tell you how proud I am to receive the award on behalf of everyone at Compassion in World Farming, my co-author, Isabel Oakeshott, and everyone who has worked so hard to make the book, Farmageddon, happen; I pay tribute to the vision and support shown by trustees, to the research, campaigning and support of my staff team, and to everyone involved in making the Farmageddon campaign such as success. Hugely appreciated, this award is for you.