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WSPA advances UN collaboration on animal welfare issues

Mar 11, 2009

Animal welfare work helped rebuild rural communities and livelihoods after floods hit Bangladesh in 2007

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.

Integrating development and animal welfare issues

At the end of a week-long series of meetings, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Seychelles to the United Nations and WSPA co-hosted a short briefing and reception at UN headquarters.

The reception was attended by government representatives from all regions of the United Nations, as well as representatives from WSPA partner organizations including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Seychelles H.E. Ronald Jean Jumeau spoke at the event.

“In Seychelles we believe that instilling care and respect for, and promoting the humane management of animals at home, at the work place and on the farm will help reap dividends on a much wider scale,” said Ambassador Jumeau.

“Caring for the welfare of animals helps us better look after ourselves, our families, communities and societies, and, in this age of global food and economic crises, strengthen our food security and national economies as well.”

Protecting animals, people and the environment

Nearly one billion of the world’s poorest people depend on animals for their livelihoods.

Good animal care reduces the risk of disease, increases agricultural productivity, ensures food security and improves environmental sustainability, yet there is currently no formal recognition of the importance of animal welfare as part of the global development agenda.

“Livestock are essential to the survival of the world’s most vulnerable societies,” said Larry Roeder, Jr., UN affairs director for WSPA.

“To help safeguard livestock and improve community resiliency, it is crucial to build a partnership between the animal welfare community and the development community and to merge animal welfare issues into the UN global development agenda.”

Building a global conversation

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.

WSPA, alongside its key partners, is urging the UN community to formally call for a partnership between the animal welfare and development communities to help further progress in both areas.

The alliance of animal welfare organizations supports a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations. 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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Elephants at a Kenyan orphanage run by a member society