One of our main goals is to end factory farming. Think it sounds utopian? In our opinion, it does not – such a change is not only possible, but even necessary.

The current model of intensive farming results in great suffering for animals and brings many other problems, such as destruction of the environment, antibiotic resistance or problems for those living near these facilities. Unfortunately, it is not easy to achieve such a big change, especially when the majority of animal products in stores come from factory farms. To make such a huge change, we need action on many fronts that will complement and drive each other.

Here are 4 areas of our work that are key to ending factory farming – and we believe we will achieve this in the coming decades.

A FrankenChicken suffering on a farm supplying Tesco

1. Encouraging companies to stop cruel practices

The vast majority of people, even if they eat meat, believe that all animals should live free from harm. In surveys on this topic, respondents often point out that they would pay more for animal products from animals living in better conditions. Due to the large public support for this idea, actions aimed at large companies are a very effective way to improve the fate of animals. If a large supermarket like Tesco decides, for example, to take FrankenChicken off the shelves, this has an impact on a huge number of animals.

Companies often listen to their customers, so putting pressure on them to take these issues seriously is very important. Our role is to talk to companies and convince them to commit to better for animals, and later, make sure they follow through on their promises. Thanks to our work in this area we are influencing companies to change the fates of millions of chickens. We even convinced around a dozen restaurants to remove foie gras from their menu in 2019.

Companies, seeing that these issues are important to society, may not only decide to improve the living conditions of animals, but also to introduce more plant-based options. This kind of progress can also make legal progress more achievable.

How can you help us achieve this? 

2. Changing social norms 

To make big changes, we need public support. This is helped by our presence in the media – both traditional and online. We know that in order to influence people’s behaviour, it is not enough to make them aware – we need to change social norms and what kind of behaviour is encouraged or condemned.

Media campaigns allow us to influence both attitudes and behaviour in society – such as consumer choices. The media are an important tool for influencing not only consumers but also voters, politicians and companies. Through the press, television and billboards, we show the results of our investigations and living conditions on factory farms – revealing the truth to a public that is fed comforting assurances of a humane food system. We publish the results of opinion polls, which are strong tools for us in our work. We also build our presence online so we can have greater influence – both through social media and online advertising. We reached around half a million people in September on Facebook alone!

Undercover investigations have a particular power here, because they form the basis for almost everything we do as a movement. Just imagine a world where the public, politicians, organisations and companies didn’t know know of the atrocities that animals face behind the high walls of factory farms every day.

How can you help us achieve this? 

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A happy, rescued pig! Photo: Andrew Skowron

3. Changing the law

Legal changes are key to animal protection – the law reflects what we as a society are emphasising and what we want to protect. Law and its enforcement creates norms that shape the way animals are perceived and treated. Therefore, working to change the laws that protect animals is extremely important. 

This year we launched a campaign to #BanFactoryFarms. We have also campaigned for years with Humane Society International UK for a ban on the sale of fur.

Most people can see that the lives animals lead on factory farms are unacceptable and cruel. We focus on publishing undercover investigations from British factory farms and European fur farms in the UK’s biggest media platforms, to keep the issues visible and the pressure on politicians to act. We rally public support with petitions and protests, whilst we work behind the scenes to convince politicians to support these campaigns with lobbying and parliamentary events. These activities combined result in an environment where the public knows the truth, their opinions are represented, and where our Government has the tools they need to act.

As a newer group in the UK, Open Cages is adding to the work of our friends in the many other UK animal advocacy organisations who have campaigned for these goals for many years. With our focus on undercover investigations, lobbying and grassroots mobilisation we aim to complement the work of these amazing groups in a way that brings something new and valuable to the movement. We hope you think we’re doing a good job so far!

A Polish fur farm. Poland is the world’s third largest producer of fur,
with 5 million foxes and minks killed each year.
Photo: Andrew Skowron

How can you help us achieve this? 

4. Building a strong animal advocacy movement

The suffering of animals knows no boundaries, so it is important to act efficiently in places where it is greatest, and at the same time there are few organisations dealing with this issue compared to other issues. This is one of the reasons why Anima International (our parent organisation) also works in countries like Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

A very important area is also supporting other organisations in key parts of the world. One example of how we help other groups is by making our investigation materials free to use with no credit required. Thanks to building a strong global animal movement, we also have greater opportunities to influence international corporations or governments – so that they make better decisions for animals.

In the UK we are tirelessly building a network of dedicated activists, providing them with training and guidance to change the world. We believe that this fight is a long one, and so it is absolutely crucial that we build strong foundations to campaign for animals long into the future, by growing our organisation and investing in future leaders.

How can you help us achieve this? 

Just a few of the activists in Anima international. Can you spot me? Photo: Andrew Skowron

Activities in these 4 key areas complement each other and allow for a comprehensive impact on the fate of animals.

You may have noticed that we don’t work directly on the promotion of plant based food. We see this area as another key in the fight to end factory farming, however the sheer amount of incredible work happening in the UK already in this area means we can be more efficient by putting our efforts elsewhere.

Of course, these areas can change over time, so it is important to remain flexible – for example, the appearance of clean meat on the market could revolutionise our lives. One thing is certain – factory farming should not exist. This goal has been guiding us from the beginning, and with your support, we are convinced that even during our lifetime, factory farms will be a relic of the past.