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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.

Member society wades in after storms hit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka was in a state of emergency recently after heavy storms buffeted the island, resulting in flash floods and landslides. WSPA member society, Blue Paw Trust, recognized that a number of animals were also being affected by the severe weather conditions and sent a mobile veterinary unit into the Puttalam District, North of Colombo, to assist in animal rescue and rehabilitation. Blue Paw Trust exists to create a better world for animals, for example providing pregnancy diagnosis to cattle, treating sick cattle goats and pigs and giving veterinary advice to farmers, all of which are vital to Sri Lankan communities.

Member society’s dedication saves cubs from bear baiting
Their own safety was threatened as they rescued two bear cubs from poachers in Pakistan. In the same month, the dangers inherent in their vital work inspired BRC to hold a ceremony applauding the wildlife department field staff that work alongside them; some of whom have been tortured as they protected bear welfare. Sukkur is an area of Pakistan with a very high density of bear baiting events, but Wildlife Division staff are making life increasingly difficult for the landlords organizing bear baiting events. The field staff promised to keep going despite all the dangers, demonstrating what can only be called exceptional commitment to animal welfare.

Bear cub rescued by Tennessee Member Society
ABR is a unique black bear rehabilitation facility located in the Smokey Mountains that has been rescuing and releasing bears for over a decade. Lisa wrote to WSPA to let us know about their latest bear cub and his journey to recovery at ABR. The other day he bit me and huffed at me, but the bite was not as bad as that of a mosquito and the "huff" was more like a tiny sneeze. It breaks my heart to know that there are so many more out there that we haven't found yet, and I wish we could help them all.

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.

WSPA sponsors Caribbean conference
Hosted by WSPA member societies the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society and the Pegasus Foundation, and sponsored by WSPA, key topics of discussion included disaster management, animal welfare and humane stray control and marine mammal issues that affect the region. Coincidentally, the Montserrat volcano erupted just two days after the conference concluded, underscoring the importance of disaster mitigation and response in the Caribbean. Other highlights included in-depth sessions on dealing with animal cruelty, which can be rampant across the region with its enormous stray population, and discussions about activities NGOs can engage in to preserve and protect their marine resources. To view some of the conference materials relating to whales and whaling, please click the links below.

UK member society aids in flood relief
Following the recent flooding across the UK, WSPA member society the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), has deployed inspectors and up to a third of its field workers to the worst hit regions in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. RSPCA flood rescue teams have been working tirelessly alongside the emergency services and the Red Cross, rescuing animals and their owners in distress. Sor far they have helped over 3,000 animals, answered requests for water for 5,616 animals and rescued 62 people. There hasn't been a time in living memory when the RSPCA has deployed so many officers to one blighted area.

WSPA helps relief effort in West India
WSPA is supporting its member society the Animal Help Foundation (AHF) to bring emergency relief to livestock in the flood stricken provinces of West India. WSPA has stepped in to help AHF by providing financial support that will enable two teams of vets to treat around 20,000 animals over 20 days. WSPA working with its member societies in emergencies like this can relieve the suffering of thousands of animals, whose survival is also crucial to local communities ability to recover from such catastrophic events. Humanitarian organizations report that over 500 people have been killed nationally as a result of this year‘s flooding and more than two million people have been evacuated from low lying areas.

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 brings aid to animals in disaster zones worldwide
Thanks to our supporters and member societies, WSPA has recently been able to come to the aid of thousands of animal victims of natural disasters around the world. Below is an update on our recent completed disaster relief efforts for animals. Post hurricane strike, the member societies undertook assessments for WSPA on the situation in country and on the animal need. In the aftermath, WSPA teams were on the ground providing animals with food and veterinary care and helping find shelter for lost and abandoned animals. Overall, WSPA funded and directed four disaster relief teams that worked with member society and government staff to reach and treat thousands of animals.

WSPA acts as volcano threatens communities and animals
Volcanic activity slowly increased in January 2008, mirroring the behaviour of Tungurahua prior to the violent eruption of 2006. While that level of devastation has not yet been repeated, the ash pollution has already killed animals and many others are suffering. In an area like this, maintaining a healthy animal population during emergency situations contributes to the recovery of local communities. WSPA’s team arrived on January 14 to make an assessment of animal welfare needs and make contact with local authorities and PAE. WSPA’s team saw cases of respiratory disease as well as illnesses caused by the contamination; local people reported cattle being burned by hot rocks.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia