By Georgina Blumears
Cage-Free Eggs Campaign Coordinator
2020 Global Summit to End Cages
“The Global Summit to End Cages is a unique opportunity to meet and learn from other activists from all areas and experience levels. The summit strengthens us as a team and deepens our sense of community. Together, we will achieve a cage-free future, not only in our own homes but across the globe”.
The Open Wing Alliance (OWA) continued its tradition of hosting a Global Summit for all it’s campaign partners, and like many others they did an almost flawless transition to virtual conferencing.
As a new member of the Cage-Free Campaign and SAFCEI team, I was so excited to join over one-hundred change makers and animal welfare activist to learn about their work on the campaign, and gain some insight into the similarities and differences between how we go about campaigning and creating change in our respective countries.
This virtual Global Summit to End Cages took place from 26th – 29th May 2020.
On the first day of this summit, we followed the lead of the amazing OWA team who managed to make a virtual meeting feel as close to normal as possible. Through the incorporation of breakaway groups for smaller intimate discussions, and Slido for our questions during the larger presentations, we came to learn about Caged-Hen activism and had the bonus of learning about just how to run a seamless online summit.
I would love to retell all the amazing sessions that we had and give you all the wonderful insights into change making but this is only a highlight reel of the amazing four-day summit.
So here are a few presentation highlights and insights.
My first presentation highlight was ‘state of the movement’s presentations from each partner organisation sharing the state of the movement in their respective countries. Mandla Gqamlana presented for Southern Africa and highlighted SAFCEI’s accomplishments in getting cage-free commitments from Hotel Verde and the City Lodge Hotel Group. With amazing actions taking place in South America, a country with similar animal welfare mindsets as Africa, I was inspired to push for some really interactive actions aimed at sharing animals’ horrible experiences with people. What is clear is that people don’t intentionally choose to support animals’ pain but rather they just don’t know.
The insight that made an impact on my thinking around animal welfare looked at how we as animal welfare activists can be creative in the face of adversity. This is the key to activism that really gets people thinking, talking and acting. Through our creativity we need to encourage ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
My aspirations post this session was that Africa as a continent and SAFCEI as an organization in this region will be able to share more actions, successes and learnings at the next Global Summit.
The second presentation highlight was around turning policy into Action.The presentation from Asia was great as it highlighted the holistic changes we should be making by engaging the Government. The link between Asia and Africa are clear, in both there is a lack of legislation, support by strong welfare organisations and confusing legal language. What was interesting is that within Asia, and possibly on our own continent, farmers often lack the knowledge around layer hen welfare hindering positive change. Following from this, laws are seen as the ultimate way to create change.
After seeing all the amazing work happening around the world and connecting with passionate and fun activists, I am mulling over one very impactful action I want to see coming out of the Global Summit particularly. It is a closer link between our work here in Africa and that of South America. It is amazing the amount of similarities we share, from the mindset of the public to lack strong legislation for animal welfare, we are true counterparts. I hope to see us working together on campaigns and sharing our successes and challenges to bring us both forward.
There is more I wish I could say to ignite your excitement around this work, but rest assured there are many exciting ideas and actions swirling around my mind. Each one being worked on and brought to life in the coming months. All I can say is watch this animal welfare space because if you’re not already deeply committed to change for animals, the environment and all people – you’re about to be.
SAFCEI Cage-Free Campaign Coordinator
To support weekly Cage-Free campaigns, contact Georgina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow our social media series on egg labeling and hen welfare on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.