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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.

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.

Government vets back move against animal cruelty
Chief Veterinary Officers from across the world are backing the move towards a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, which is supported by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and is being recognized by a growing number of government authorities and international organizations. At their annual meeting in Paris on May 25, members of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) gave overwhelming backing to the initiative to achieve worldwide acceptance of animal welfare as an important issue and called on governments to support the goal. To support, in principle, the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare which calls on countries to acknowledge the importance of animal welfare and, at the same time, recognizes the OIE as the established international animal welfare standard setting body.

European Union support boosts UDAW campaign
The development of a worldwide agreement on the importance of animal care and treatment – which a WSPA-led campaign seeks to see enshrined in a Universal Declaration – would show nations that animal welfare is connected to global development issues such as food security, human health and disaster management. By unanimously stating support for the Declaration, Ministers of Agriculture from the EU nations join a growing list of governments and veterinary associations from both developing and developed countries. EU nations have well-established animal welfare legislation in the world; as a bloc they have shown their commitment to improving animals’ lives within the EU Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006–2010.

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.

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”.

ARCH Leads Animal Welfare Efforts and Accomplishments in Haiti
Thanks to the generous donations from WSPA supporters, our disaster management team – as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) – has made great strides in providing disaster relief to the animals and people of Haiti during the past six months. Immediately following the disaster, our team worked closely with Haitian government officials, international agencies (such as the United Nations) and other NGOs to define the country’s most pressing animal-related problems, carry out treatments and develop a long-term plan for Haiti to better protect against future disasters. Thank you for your help in making these achievements possible – there is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re getting closer to improved animal welfare conditions and veterinary capacity in Haiti.

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.

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.

One step closer to a UN 'first' for animals
Animal welfare is taking another step closer to an unprecedented place on the United Nations agenda. It would also recognize animal welfare as an important aspect of the social development of nations worldwide. The world is waking up from its deep slumber to the fact that animals do matter. This would significantly increase awareness and support ahead of a ministerial conference planned for the end of 2007 in New York. Eighty animal welfare groups are also working hard to promote this campaign and spread the word about the need for global consideration of animals and their welfare. The G77, as the largest coalition of developing countries in the United Nations, provides the means for the developing world to articulate and promote its collective interests and enhance its joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues in the United Nations system, and promote economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.

World Animal Week reaches the UN
Together we highlighted the vital link between animal welfare and sustainable development, using this film to illustrate the urgency of the issue. Animal welfare matters: UN leaders heard last week about how good animal welfare practices improve food security, combat poverty, protect the environment and make agriculture sustainable. To encourage countries to explore the very real benefits that animal welfare offers, WSPA is asking the UN to include language that recognizes the links between animal welfare and development issues – such as poverty and climate change – into this year’s UN General Assembly resolution on sustainable development. Including references to animal welfare would be a vital milestone in the journey to adoption of a UDAW by the UN General Assembly.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia