WSPA pays tribute to animal welfare pioneer

Nov 15, 2006

Peter Roberts

WSPA pays tribute to Peter Roberts, founder of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), who passed away in the morning of Wednesday, November 16, 2006.

An unassuming animal welfare champion, Peter was a dairy farmer who became appalled at the direction of post-war farming in terms of animal welfare.  In 1967, he set up CIWF, to rally against the cages and crates that were being used so prevalently to house farm animals.  He saw CIWF grow from a personal protest in his back room to the leading international force for farm animal welfare that it is today.

WSPA is proud to work with CIWF, a key partner in the FarmWatch campaign.

Leah Garcés, WSPA’s Director of Programs, said:

“He was a personal hero of mine. He established CIWF when no one was even thinking about farm animals. He was a dairy farmer himself, a true pioneer for animals. He built an organization from scratch that is now one of the most formidable in the world for protecting farm animals. Beyond that he was a modest, intelligent and compassionate man.‘‘
“He is an inspiration to us all, as he dedicated his life to improving the lives of farm animals. He will be greatly missed.”

CIWF’s first major victory came in 1990, when narrow veal crates for calves were banned in the UK.  It is perhaps fitting that in January next year, this system will also be banned throughout the EU.

Peter challenged views held by government and industry that animals were mere ‘agricultural products’.  In the 1980s, he conceived the idea that animals should be granted a new status as ‘sentient beings’ and started a ground-breaking campaign in Europe. In 1997, the EU agreed to legally recognize animal sentience in what is known as the ‘Amsterdam Protocol’, signalling an official sea change in attitudes to animals.  

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