Global Animal Partnership Board of Directors member and USA Director for Compassion in World Farming, a U.K.-based organization with offices around the world, Leah Garcés has worked to advance higher welfare for farm animals for well over a decade and has authored and edited several reports and books on animals in agriculture.
A strong proponent of collaboration, she recently launched the multi-stakeholder Georgians for Pastured Poultry. Intensive confinement animal agriculture underpins so many of the world’s problems today. In various roles in my career, I’ve witnessed this first hand. I’ve been to China and Thailand where high concentrations and movements of farm animals have been linked to the emergence of deadly zoonotic diseases. I’ve been to Brazil where field upon field of monoculture soya is tilled to feed farm animals around the world, and then seen human populations in Tanzania and Kenya suffering from food insecurity. I’ve seen pollution and waste from industrialized animal farms running into local drinking rivers in Mexico.
And, now as the USA Director of Compassion in World Farming, I see small independent farmers, committed to higher welfare, struggling to find a way into the market. In each of these places, I’ve also seen a blatant disregard of farm animals’ sentience and their suffering. I started working to end intensive confinement farming because of the suffering it causes to farm animals. But my understanding has evolved. To quote John Muir, “when we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” When I tugged on intensive confinement farming, I found it to be attached to many of the world’s most serious problems. I feel there is no more important injustice that needs correcting—for the animals, the farmers and consumers, and our planet.
I am honored to serve on the board of Global Animal Partnership. I fully embrace the organization because it believes in engagement and stepped changes. Our work has to be about getting everyone on the pathway to change and providing the steps to do so. We are creating a pathway so that anyone can take that next step, with the hope that everyone will reach our collective desired destination—a food and farming system that nourishes people without causing animal suffering and environmental destruction.