European Union support boosts UDAW campaign

Mar 24, 2009

All types of animals, in the EU and beyond, will benefit from a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare

The European Union has formally announced support for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) – a major breakthrough for the recognition of animal welfare as a globally important issue. 
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.

27 strong voices for animals

WSPA’s campaign to see animal welfare recognized as an issue of worldwide concern has already been endorsed by the governments of Fiji, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Palau, the Seychelles, Cambodia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Now, all 27 members of the EU have added their voices as a bloc, making it the first regional forum to support UDAW.

“This conclusion represents 27 strong voices in support of animal welfare and provides a basis for increased partnership with already-supportive governments as well as governments still considering the Declaration.” said Justine Holmes, Head of the UDAW campaign at WSPA.

“With today’s announcement, the EU has recognized the strong links that animal welfare has with other established globally important issues such as climate change, food security, human health and poverty reduction.”

A worldwide concern

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.

But respecting animals’ needs is no western luxury: members of the G77 group of developing nations recently invited WSPA to brief their UN ambassadors on how good welfare can benefit the world’s poorest people, who rely on animals for their livelihoods.

From the EU to the UN

A Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare must be endorsed by the United Nations if it is to have any impact.

Today’s announcement includes a commitment to ‘give active support to the development of … [the] Declaration at the United Nations’, meaning many more countries will be advocating for animals at the highest level.

This will help WSPA to explain the benefits of good animal welfare – for animals, humans and the environment – to other UN member states, and finally take the UDAW to the floor of the General Assembly.

For more information and to add your voice to the campaign, visit

Read about WSPA's recent lobbying activities at UN headquarters >>

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