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WSPA helps put animal welfare on the agenda for Rio+20 for the first time

Jun 19, 2012

WSPA has helped secure agreement from the UN to include sustainable livestock AND animal health on the agenda for the UN Earth Summit (Rio+20) - the first time that the treatment of animals has ever been considered in global discussions on sustainable development at this level.
WSPA is now calling on global leaders to recognize the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices in ensuring we can feed the world sustainably, and urging them to set goals to ensure animal welfare is core to future sustainable development. 

WSPA has also been out in Rio this week bringing the message to politicians, policymakers and the public about our approach to sustainable animal farming.

We have been getting the message across that, left unchecked, the global demand for meat, eggs and milk is due to double from 2000 to 2050 and will have a major impact on land and energy use globally. Without policy change, the majority of the growth is projected to come from intensive animal farming - which focuses on maximizing production by keeping animals indoors in cramped conditions, providing them with little space to move around, selective breeding to maximize growth and feeding on cereals and oilseeds. 

The costs for both animals and humans is too high

To ensure we can feed the world’s growing population sustainably, the outcomes of Rio+20 must recognize the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices. Developing humane animal welfare practices is central to society being able to tackle environmental and development issues such as climate change, disaster management, deforestation, pollution, water and food security” says Dr. Mike Appleby, WSPA’'s Chief Scientific Adviser for Humane Sustainable Agriculture. We want to ensure farm animal welfare is a core part of national and global policies for, and solutions to, food security, food safety and sustainable development.

We have five recommendations, we want Rio+20 to take forward;

  1. Recognize that good local and global animal welfare farming practice and policies are key to safeguarding people, animals and the environment
  2. Give formal government support to farmers who rear their livestock humanely and sustainably and phase out subsidies and investment to those farmers who do not.
  3. Make it clear that farm animals reared on humane, sustainable farms are vital to a country’'s economic development and lifting people from poverty
  4. Address the challenge and highlight the local and global implications of the unsustainable demand for meat, eggs and dairy products.
  5. Support and invest in research and development that shows how animal-friendly farming systems protect and develop rural economies.


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