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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.

WSPA announces new Director General
Peter’s retirement marks the end of a very successful chapter for the organization, during which WSPA saw massive growth and development – not just in size, but in capacity and ability to influence policy and legislation worldwide. Peter Davies said, “When I reflect on my time here, there is much WSPA has to be proud of – not least our creation of this truly global animal welfare movement. Today, WSPA has a presence in over 150 countries around the world and the commitment displayed by every member of this alliance has allowed for some truly impressive achievements – the sound of so many voices speaking on individual issues has been a powerful tool for advancing global animal welfare.” Through partnership with hundreds of member societies we strive to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

UDAW endorsed by American Veterinary Medical Association
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced its support, in concept, for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) last week, joining more than 20 other national and international veterinary groups in doing so. The Executive Board of the AVMA voted to endorse the idea of a UDAW, taking the recommendation of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee which had voted to support the initiative at its October meeting. “The underlying objectives of the Declaration are aligned with the AVMA Animal Welfare Principles…which serve as an overarching guide for the AVMA when decisions are made regarding animal welfare matters,” wrote Executive Vice President W. Ron DeHaven in a letter to David Wilkins, chief veterinary advisor for the WSPA.

UDAW campaign reaches critical milestone
The motion was put forward by Liberal MP Michelle Simson (Scarborough Southwest) and seconded by NDP MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby Douglas). This makes Canada a leader – the first North American country to formally support UDAW – and it means that Canada is one giant step closer to fully endorsing the campaign. The next step – which we expect will happen soon – is for WSPA Canada to meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm the government’s formal support, in principle, of the development of a UDAW. The WSPA campaign to achieve a UDAW in Canada was supported by our member societies and more than 75,000 amazing Canadians who signed petitions and sent more than 25,000 individual letters to MPs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

WSPA Board and Advisory Council announced
Mark Watts, Cecilia Vega Leon and Chinny Krishna WSPA welcomed three new Board members at the 2008 annual general meeting, held on June 3. Cecilia Vega Leon (Mexico), Chinny Krishna (India) and Mark Watts (UK) will also serve on the Advisory Council. The new Board members join some experienced colleagues. Following the meeting, the Board elected new WSPA Officers for the coming year: Dominique Bellemare (Canada) as President, Professor Ranald Munro (UK), as Senior Vice President Hanja Maji-Weggen (Netherlands) as Junior Vice President, Andrew Rowan (USA) as Treasurer and Peter Mason (New Zealand) as Secretary. Read more about WSPA, who we are and what we do >>

WSPA says art is no excuse for cruelty
The use of an emaciated dog by Guillermo Vargas (Habacuc) during an art exhibition in Nicaragua in 2007 was cruel and contrary to the Five Freedoms that form the basis of animal welfare. WSPA is awaiting a response from Mujeres en las Artes to the petition calling for Vargas to be prevented from participating in the exhibition. Furthermore, WSPA is supporting and allocating resources to a project led by a special commission within the Nicaraguan Congress aiming to update and reform the nation’s animal protection laws. While we are satisfied that no-one will be able to abuse animals in the name of art during this forthcoming exhibition, stronger laws need to be in place that prohibit animal cruelty full stop.

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