Oct 14, 2011
WSPA and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) recently hosted a series of presentations at the United Nations on the crucial links between livestock production and the green economy.
The organizations spoke directly to UN delegates about the humane treatment of farm animals, and how it is at the heart of many key issues – including food security, environmental protection and poverty alleviation – that will be discussed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) in June 2012.
During the event, WSPA invited real farmers into the room to demonstrate the viability of higher welfare farming and how it can contribute to the development of greener and fairer economies.
One of the speakers at this event was Will Harris, farmer and owner of White Oak Pastures, the largest certified organic farm in Georgia. White Oak Pastures demonstrates the benefits of humane, sustainable agriculture as a business model that works for the farmer, the consumer, the animals and the environment.
Will Harris finds that the benefits of good animal welfare practice are tangible: "What we’re doing has had a very positive impact: from an animal welfare perspective, environmental stewardship perspective and economic impact perspective. A core value of my family has always been, 'If you take care of the land and the herd, then they will take care of you.'"
The briefing was well received by several UN missions that attended the event.
"It is really enlightening to hear so many issues discussed at the same time, showing how sustainable development is interlinked," said Juanita Castano from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). "It is easy to see how to achieve animal welfare by taking social, environmental and economic issues into account."
Kenya’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. J. Ojiambo said: "The Kenya Mission to the United Nations is pleased to co-host this event and wishes to draw your attention to one part of the picture that is often overlooked; that of livestock; their health and welfare, the livelihoods of those tending them and the environment they have an impact on."
In the lead up to Rio+20 next year, WSPA will continue to advocate that animal welfare be core to the conference agenda.
"A genuinely sustainable future for farming needs to be based around good animal welfare, livelihood protection and respect for the environment," said Dr. Lesley Lambert, Campaign Director at WSPA. "It is essential that we promote farm animal welfare at Rio+20, so that it can be at the heart of all future policies on sustainable development."