Global Animal Partnership Board of Directors member and Chief Executive Officer of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Mike Baker leads the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare organizations with hundreds of member societies dedicated to creating a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.
There is no bigger animal welfare issue than the suffering endured by billions of industrially farmed animals, and the practice is spreading rapidly. Developing countries are now adopting this industrialized model on a mass scale, with predictably bad results—not just for animals, but also for the environment, food security, and, ultimately, the health and well-being of people throughout the world.
But there is hope.
Just in the dairy industry, we have seen attempts to introduce intensive farms in the UK and New Zealand kicked back as consumers, environmentalists, traditional farmers, and animal advocates joined their voices in protest. And while the threat is increasing, so is the opportunity. A growing number of people are realising that the intensive confinement industries that cause so much suffering to animals are also a threat to the environment and food security. We are quite simply running out of land and water, and the current system not only can’t cope, but is making the problem worse.
To make the most of the opportunity though, people need alternatives and they need the information to make the choices that can save animals and the planet. That is where Global Animal Partnership comes in. The 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating gives a practical incentive to farmers and a vital insight to consumers, helping them to make a stand. This has the potential to use consumer pressure—the disgust of ordinary people with what is done to animals in their name—in a positive way, that rewards farmers who have embraced higher welfare farming and those who are moving towards more enlightened, animal-friendly, and sustainable measures. The future can be brighter, and Global Animal Partnership is one of the reasons to be optimistic. I’m honoured to serve as a Board member.