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Why Animals Matter at Rio+20

Jun 15, 2012

With the number of animals farmed for food set to double by 2050 - the majority of which are subject to intensive farming methods - billions more animals will continue to suffer unless humane farming methods are adopted on a wide-scale basis.

Earlier this year, WSPA helped secure agreement from the UN to include sustainable livestock on the agenda for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). At the conference, WSPA will call on the UN and governments to recognize the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices in ensuring we can feed the world sustainably.

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. The majority of the growth is coming from intensive animal farming. This 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 high.

WSPA has five recommendations to the UN, national government delegates and the agricultural industry:

  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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