Philip Lymbery
Philip is a long standing opponent of factory farming and the damaging consequences it has for animals, people and our planet.

Entries by Philip Lymbery

Compassion's Take on the Sustainable Development Goals

(0) Comments | Posted 1 October 2015 | (17:00)


Last week the United Nations launched its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 aims included in a new 15 year plan. This plan aims to end poverty and hunger by 2030 and achieve a host of other truly...

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The Fallacy of Old Macdonald

(1) Comments | Posted 23 July 2015 | (12:09)

It's a myth peddled to children from an exceptionally young age; before they can walk or talk, with colourful picture books showing happy animals grazing by duck ponds in lush green fields. In these story books the farmer and his wife are a picture of health - their bonny children...

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A Cage Is Still a Cage

(4) Comments | Posted 15 July 2015 | (11:32)

Back in 2012 after many years spent tirelessly campaigning, Compassion in World Farming celebrated the battery cage ban - making barren battery cages illegal across the European Union.

The ban was an opportunity for a huge stride in the welfare of Europe's laying hens, but sadly there was a big flaw in the legislation. A flaw that I am afraid to say, many in the egg industry have seized upon: simply replacing barren cages with so-called 'enriched' ones. Unfortunately, this means some 60% of Europe's 500 million hens still spend their lives in cages.

Barren battery cages confined laying hens to less space than an A4 sheet of paper each. 'Enriched' cages provide hens with a bit more space - the size of a postcard to be precise. As a result, they are still highly restrictive. Hens cannot fly up to perch to escape feather pecking, the litter area is often a sick joke, preventing meaningful dust bathing.

I know from owning my own ex-battery hens, just how much they enjoy their freedom. This summer, my team carried out investigations in four European countries - France, Italy, Czech Republic and Cyprus - to discover what the ban really means for laying hens. They found hidden factory farms - very like in the old barren battery cage days. Many of those visited were meeting the requirements of the EU Directive, but in adopting the 'enriched' cage, failing to address the welfare needs of the hens.

Everywhere the Investigation Unit went, they encountered hens with their beaks cut off and bodies that were badly feather-pecked. Hens often appeared anxious and fearful of human contact - while others were too ill to move. In almost every farm, the conditions were so cramped the hens could barely spread their wings.


Here is an account by one of our investigators on what was seen at a farm in France: "The cages seemed to go on forever. They reached all the way up into the roof of the building, and along its entire length. There were so many hens all around me, and the sound of them all calling out was almost deafening. It was impossible to comprehend the scale of the suffering going on under that one roof.

"While I walked along the rows, small black eyes watched me through the bars. As I approached they shifted, treading awkwardly from one section of mesh-flooring to another. I couldn't help but wonder how on earth their feet cope at all, a whole life time on bare wire."

My team saw farms of all types: small and large, modern and ramshackle, clean and dirty. Regardless of the operation, the hens were tightly confined, spent their lives standing on wire mesh floors or slippery perches, and never saw sunlight.

The industry heralds these cages as a vast improvement to the banned barren battery cage. But when you see the way these cages still leave hens crammed, with barely any space to stretch their wings, even with minimal 'enrichment', it's clear a cage is still a cage. The 'enrichment' in these cages is little more than window dressing, a cynical sop to consumer concerns. 300 million hens are currently living this way in the EU. Please join our campaign. And help us end the cage age once and for...

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MRSA Is in British Meat: Is This the Wake-Up Call We Need?

(0) Comments | Posted 18 June 2015 | (16:47)

I have previously discussed the severe risks of "antibiotic armageddon". Unfortunately, that day seems ever closer.

The findings of a new study into retail pork, revealed today in the Guardian on 18th June, could pose a significant threat to ongoing efforts to win the fight against...

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Filthy Pigs: the European Commission Thinks Creating Pig Waste Lagoons Is the 'Best Available Technique' for the Environment

(6) Comments | Posted 6 April 2015 | (00:00)

I've been watching the BBC's programme, Billion Dollar Chicken Shop, which intersperses scenes of chickens being reared in vast sheds with customers tackling a bargain bucket. It reminds me that we still have a long way to go in getting the government, consumers and food companies to join up the...

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EU Profits from Uber-cruel Trade in Live Animals

(0) Comments | Posted 11 March 2015 | (11:55)

The EU exports almost two million cattle and sheep a year to the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. For over a year Compassion in World Farming has been informing the European Commission about the horrendous slaughter practices inflicted on EU animals exported to this region. But the Commission refuses...

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Opposing Slaughter Without Stunning Does not Make me Racist

(0) Comments | Posted 4 February 2015 | (14:15)

In recent days, some have argued that wanting to ban slaughter without stunning makes you racist (Banning ritual slaughter would be a victory for racists). This is distracting from the issue at hand: millions of farm animals suffer a painful and hugely distressing death every year. What I...

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Why One Perdue Chicken Farmer Broke the Conspiracy of Silence

(2) Comments | Posted 2 December 2014 | (12:09)

This year, in a highly surprising move, we befriended a chicken factory farmer.

On a hot mid-summer day, we drove though the dusty backroads of rural North Carolina, to meet Craig Watts at his farm.

In 1992, Craig went into chicken farming to feed his family and be...

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Slaughter Day: Never Again

(2) Comments | Posted 28 November 2014 | (11:07)

Today is the first of the two day mass slaughter: the Gadhimai Festival. In Nepal, it is considered to be a celebration.

How an event where thousands of animals will be beheaded, is referred to as a celebrative festival, bemuses and disturbs me. It is appallingly cruel and utterly...

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Slaughterhouse Shutdown: A Horror Story With a Happy Ending

(1) Comments | Posted 20 November 2014 | (09:40)

More often than not I write about horror stories with less than happy endings.
Today I am writing about - yes, a 'horror story' - but one with a happy ending that I believe my organisation, Compassion in World Farming and all of our supporters, have helped to bring...

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Avian Flu: Why We Should Be Cautious

(0) Comments | Posted 18 November 2014 | (09:02)

The spectre of avian influenza has once again been raised by a double-strike in Europe. The highly contagious strain, H5N8, which could potentially affect people, has been discovered on a Dutch poultry farm, whilst a further case has been found on a duck breeding farm in Yorkshire, England, although the...

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Avoiding Antibiotic Armageddon: Prevent, Preserve, Promote

(0) Comments | Posted 5 November 2014 | (14:13)

"Prevent people from being infected. Preserve the antibiotics we have; and promote the development of new antibiotics and better diagnostics." This is what Professor John Watson, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer stated that we need to do at a seminar, held last week at the Royal Society of Medicine, (RSM)....

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The Horse Meat Scandal - We're Part of the Problem

(1) Comments | Posted 5 September 2014 | (17:07)

By mistaking cheapness for value, we have still not learned the lessons of the horse meat scandal and are complicit in creating a system that will allow it to be repeated.

Much of the media focus around the horse meat scandal report, led by Professor Chris Elliott from...

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How Can We Produce More Meat? That's the Wrong Question

(6) Comments | Posted 1 September 2014 | (16:16)

How will we produce more meat to feed the planet's growing population?

A new report suggests that's a silly question. The report from academics at Cambridge and Aberdeen universities, Importance of food-demand management for climate mitigation, addresses an issue all too often ignored in this debate: unsustainable...

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Eerie Lake Erie: Factory Farming Is Causing Big Problems Far Beyond the Farm

(0) Comments | Posted 7 August 2014 | (15:57)

You may well have picked up the latest news from Toledo in Ohio, USA, where a severe toxic algal bloom - said to be at least in part due to industrial farm pollution - is causing havoc with local water supplies, leaving half a million people without safe drinking water.

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Decent Food for Everyone Forever

(0) Comments | Posted 13 July 2014 | (20:10)

Food is one of the most important things in life, there's no denying it. So why are we so blinkered when it comes to talking about it?

We're constantly innovative and inventive when it comes to creating new and exciting ways to consume it but when it comes to creating...

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The Power of Viral

(0) Comments | Posted 24 June 2014 | (11:00)

We have all been in those brainstorms where someone shouts out: 'we want this to go VIRAL'. The dreaded sentence. Because, does anyone really know the magic formula of how to 'make' something go viral, or indeed, is there one?

Compassion in World Farming worked with Catsnake Film...

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The Shocking Truth About Non-Stun Slaughter

(0) Comments | Posted 12 June 2014 | (17:19)

Of all the issues that I deal with as the CEO of a farm animal welfare charity, slaughter is one that never fails to arouse great passions.

Slaughtering animals without first stunning them into unconsciousness seems to be a particularly emotive issue.

In the EU, slaughtering animals without first...

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To Stun or Not to Stun: That Should Be the Question

(23) Comments | Posted 10 May 2014 | (00:00)

Halal and kosher meat is making front page news, with the question of whether meat in restaurants and supermarkets should be labelled as 'halal'. But in my eyes, the real issue is whether animals are being stunned prior to slaughter or not.

EU and UK law...

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Superbugs: The Hidden Menace of Antibiotics Fed to Farm Animals

(0) Comments | Posted 2 May 2014 | (00:00)

Antibiotic resistance is an all too real and current issue. A new report, released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday 30 April has stated that it is a major threat to public health and that the 'implications will be devastating'.

In its first global report on antibiotic resistance,...

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