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Universal Declaration campaign launched in US
We are seeking a total of 10 million signatures on the "Animals Matter to Me" petition, making it the most ambitious global initiative on animal welfare that has ever been attempted. This petition urges the United Nations to adopt a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare similar to earlier initiatives on human rights and the environment. Billions of animals around the world are affected by humans, and rely on people to treat them with compassion. But sadly, in many countries there is little national and no international protection for animals. Reaching the goal of 10 million signatures worldwide will raise public and government awareness about animals and the importance of considering their welfare.

WSPA announces new Director General
Peter’s retirement marks the end of a very successful chapter for the organization, during which WSPA saw massive growth and development – not just in size, but in capacity and ability to influence policy and legislation worldwide. Peter Davies said, “When I reflect on my time here, there is much WSPA has to be proud of – not least our creation of this truly global animal welfare movement. Today, WSPA has a presence in over 150 countries around the world and the commitment displayed by every member of this alliance has allowed for some truly impressive achievements – the sound of so many voices speaking on individual issues has been a powerful tool for advancing global animal welfare.” Through partnership with hundreds of member societies we strive to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

Sweden and New Zealand: leaders in animal welfare
Two governments, on different continents, have this week made the same significant decision: to recognize the global importance of animals and their well-being by lending support to a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. Sweden and New Zealand join Fiji, Cambodia, and the Seychelles in giving full and official backing to a proposed set of principles which, if endorsed by the UN, will result in international recognition that animal welfare matters. In backing the principle that animals matter – for themselves, for the environment, for food security, and for human livelihoods and health – Sweden and New Zealand have shown that they are dedicated to stopping animal cruelty and protecting the world’s future. Wide governmental support will help convince the UN to endorse the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and highlight the importance of animals to the international community.

Leona Lewis says Animals Matter
She was joined by her family dog Misty for the photo shoot. She summed up her belief in the UDAW campaign: "One reason animals are so vulnerable to cruelty is because there is no universal agreement between nations that animals can suffer and feel pain... Leona calls on her supporters to join her in backing the Animals Matter campaign. Go to wspa.org.uk/leonalewis to join in and pledge your support. Fans of the singer can also see a behind the scenes film of the charity video shoot and hear news about her new album, her career and lifestyle on WSPA YouTube channel.

Brazilian ministry backs animal welfare
The UDAW is a proposed set of principles which, if endorsed by the United Nations, will result in international recognition that animal welfare matters for animals, people, and the environment. Earlier this year, WSPA Brazil presented over 7,000 signatures to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supplies from members of the public who want to see the country recognize the importance of animal welfare. With both public and ministerial support, WSPA Brazil has a strong case to seek full government backing for the Declaration. Public pressure helps achieve government support; government support is what will take the UDAW to the UN and mark a sea change in how the international community views animal welfare.

Fiji stands up for a world where animals matter
Fiji has joined a growing list of governments putting the spotlight on how we care for animals by supporting a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) to be endorsed by the United Nations. Endorsement of the Declaration will mean global recognition that animals matter and can feel pain and experience suffering. It will send the message that all of us – from individuals to governments – have a responsibility to put an end to cruelty around the world. “The Fijian government’s decision is a key milestone in the development of this important initiative and we hope that other Pacific islands will follow their lead by recognizing the importance of animal welfare.

In Recognition of World Animal Week - Stars Sign WSPA’s Animals Matter to Me Petition
Whether providing comfort and companionship in our homes or supplying crucial labor to support families in need, animals matter to each one of us. People are urged to take action by fundraising for animal welfare, making a donation, volunteering their time, or simply giving their pets some extra attention. If adopted, it will be the first international agreement recognizing that animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering and that their welfare should be respected. Kristin and the other celebrity supporters are joining the world’s largest animal welfare network – WSPA works with over 1,000 animal welfare groups in more than150 countries to protect animals and alleviate their suffering.

Animals Matter to India
India was the first country to have animal protection written into its constitution and similarly, the first to have a government Board dedicated to animal welfare issues. WSPA now hopes that Minister Ramesh will encourage support within his Ministry and the Government of India, increasing support for the development of a UDAW at the United Nations. Justine Holmes, Head of the campaign for a UDAW, said: “We are delighted that the Minister has decided to give the UDAW campaign its firm approval. India’s close affinity with animal welfare makes it an essential player to support steps towards recognition of animal welfare and achievement of a UDAW at the UN”.

Head of State is millionth UDAW supporter
Governments are now being asked to sit up and listen to the call from over one million people – representing every country in the world – that animals deserve good treatment and freedom from suffering. Over 200 animal welfare organizations and thousands of WSPA supporters from around the world have been working hard to spread the word and collect signatures. In March we will be asking you to write to your government and call on them to support the UDAW. But in the meantime, you can help animals today by signing the petition and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.

WSPA and Dubai to promote animal welfare
Dubai Municipality and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share expertise and technical know-how with the objective of promoting animal welfare and humane treatment of animals. Animal health and soundness are essential elements of public health and control of animal diseases that may cause harm or diseases to humans, he noted. The organisations also commits itself to continuous revisions and updating of techniques and programmes delivered. The Municipality will act as a model to the area and work with WSPA to provide training and assistance to other programmes in the region.

UDAW endorsed by American Veterinary Medical Association
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced its support, in concept, for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) last week, joining more than 20 other national and international veterinary groups in doing so. The Executive Board of the AVMA voted to endorse the idea of a UDAW, taking the recommendation of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee which had voted to support the initiative at its October meeting. “The underlying objectives of the Declaration are aligned with the AVMA Animal Welfare Principles…which serve as an overarching guide for the AVMA when decisions are made regarding animal welfare matters,” wrote Executive Vice President W. Ron DeHaven in a letter to David Wilkins, chief veterinary advisor for the WSPA.

WSPA advances UN collaboration on animal welfare issues
Earlier this month, WSPA representatives visited United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York to engage members of more than 30 permanent missions and UN agencies in discussions on the links between good animal welfare practices and the United Nation’s agenda for sustainable development. As a result of discussions with the WSPA, governments and UN agencies are intensifying efforts to collaborate on animal welfare issues and open communications between inter-governmental sectors and non-governmental organizations to better benefit animals and the people that depend on them. If adopted, it will be the first international agreement recognizing that animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering and that their welfare should be respected.

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