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Universal Declaration

A turtle glides through the water

The future of animal welfare lies in the world’s governments recognizing that animals matter. WSPA is seeking this recognition in the form of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

This campaign has been developed from the belief that our close interaction with animals means we have a responsibility to protect their welfare.

A UDAW will encourage governments to make and enforce laws that benefit animals – laws that can also help people and protect the environment.

What is it?

A UDAW would be an agreement among people and nations that:

  • animals are sentient – they can suffer and feel pain

  • animals’ welfare needs must be respected

  • animal cruelty must end for good.

This campaign seeks the support of individuals and governments alike to ensure that current national agreements on animal welfare become international and universally endorsed as a UN adopted declaration.

What will it achieve?

The UN has adopted other universal declarations with huge impact. For example, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (adopted 1959).

A UDAW would inspire change at regional, national and international levels by:

• encouraging governments to improve their national animal welfare legislation
• providing a basis for animal welfare legislation in countries where it does not currently exist
• encouraging those industries that use animals to keep welfare at the forefront of their policies
• mobilizing and uniting the animal welfare movement behind a common goal
• providing a useful framework to link humanitarian development and animal welfare agendas
• inspiring positive change in public attitudes towards animal welfare.



How can protecting animals also help people?

Livelihoods: About 1 billion of the poorest people in the world rely on animals for their income. The welfare of these animals is essential to supporting their livelihoods – animal health improves productivity and creates stability, leading to sustainable development and protecting livelihoods.
Environmental protection: Responsible animal management has positive impacts on land use, climate change, pollution, water supplies, habitat conservation and biodiversity.

Health: Good animal care reduces the risk of food poisoning and of diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans. Healthy animals also secure food supplies, helping protect people from malnutrition and hunger.

Companionship: All around the world, millions of people look to animals for companionship; the human-animal bond has proven therapeutic benefits.

Read case study examples of how and why animal welfare matters >>

What can I do?

Tell the international community that you support this campaign.

Join WSPA, over 330 animal welfare groups, over 2 million compassionate individuals, and many supportive governments – including Cambodia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, the Seychelles, Switzerland and the 27 European Union member states – in calling for the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Say Animals Matter to Me today!

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