We lost the vote, and factory farmed animals still need our help

Swiss voters have now decided the outcome of our flagship initiative to abolish factory farming, which was launched by Sentience in 2018. The incredible support of our partner organisations, network of volunteers and public figures made it possible to bring the issue of factory farming to voters for the first time in any country.

The weeks leading up to the vote were non-stop for our team. In the final push, our campaign social media amassed over 11 million impressions, several television appearances and 50 articles specifically covering investigations into the living conditions on factory farms. Our alliance members also exposed the suffering of farmed animals in a series of graphic videos.

The vote took place on 25 September, and the results are in: 37,1% of Swiss voters agreed to permanently ban factory farming. We also secured a majority of 55.2% in the canton of Basel-Stadt.

It was not enough to win the vote. Yet, this result was not entirely unexpected, and there are many positives to focus on. Over a million Swiss voters supported our arguments. Since the start of 2022, over 1000 media articles discussed our stance for the betterment of animal welfare. We also reached an international audience: The campaign was reported on in The Guardian and Time Magazine, among others.

It has been quite a journey. We have paved the way for future campaigns and centred the interests of farm animals in the public discourse. We will now focus our efforts on keeping the pressure on, and finding new ways to influence consumer behaviour. For example, in 2023, we will be co-hosting an in-depth stakeholder process around accelerating the adoption of alternative protein in Swiss diets. We are also reviewing our partnerships with donors, and considering how we might work together to keep leading the dialogue on animal sentience in society.

We rely entirely on donations to keep pushing the agenda for animals. Did you know that, in the US, over 99% of all the animals we kill live on farms? But only about 0.8% of all funding for animals goes towards that group. Most donations go towards supporting shelters and other organisations that focus on companion animals.

The situation is unlikely to be very different in Switzerland. Farm animals need all the help they can get. The needed change requires efforts from many different groups in society, from charities to food scientists and policymakers. Sentience works to build a future in which animal suffering on this kind of scale is consigned to the history books.

Therefore, please consider making a donation today to support our vital efforts to help those animals who are usually left out of the broader discussion on animal welfare.

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