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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.

Government vets back move against animal cruelty
Chief Veterinary Officers from across the world are backing the move towards a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, which is supported by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and is being recognized by a growing number of government authorities and international organizations. At their annual meeting in Paris on May 25, members of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) gave overwhelming backing to the initiative to achieve worldwide acceptance of animal welfare as an important issue and called on governments to support the goal. To support, in principle, the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare which calls on countries to acknowledge the importance of animal welfare and, at the same time, recognizes the OIE as the established international animal welfare standard setting body.

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.

European Union support boosts UDAW campaign
The development of a worldwide agreement on the importance of animal care and treatment – which a WSPA-led campaign seeks to see enshrined in a Universal Declaration – would show nations that animal welfare is connected to global development issues such as food security, human health and disaster management. By unanimously stating support for the Declaration, Ministers of Agriculture from the EU nations join a growing list of governments and veterinary associations from both developing and developed countries. EU nations have well-established animal welfare legislation in the world; as a bloc they have shown their commitment to improving animals’ lives within the EU Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006–2010.

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 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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

World Animal Week reaches the UN
Together we highlighted the vital link between animal welfare and sustainable development, using this film to illustrate the urgency of the issue. Animal welfare matters: UN leaders heard last week about how good animal welfare practices improve food security, combat poverty, protect the environment and make agriculture sustainable. To encourage countries to explore the very real benefits that animal welfare offers, WSPA is asking the UN to include language that recognizes the links between animal welfare and development issues – such as poverty and climate change – into this year’s UN General Assembly resolution on sustainable development. Including references to animal welfare would be a vital milestone in the journey to adoption of a UDAW by the UN General Assembly.

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.

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