Bravo! Latin American nations back animals

Feb 5, 2010

Bolivian children dress up as indigenous animals to show support for animal welfare

WSPA is excited to confirm Bolivia and Nicaragua’s full governmental support for the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. Once endorsed at the United Nations, a Declaration will constitute the biggest EVER single step forward for animal protection worldwide.

Both nations recognize that a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) would go beyond helping animals and also benefit people – especially the world’s poorest communities – and the environment. Read how in our case studies >>

Bolivia's Foreign Ministry acknowledged this when announcing support, saying it “constitutes one of its strategic pillars on improving food security and sovereignty, as well as considering that animal welfare is essential to provide consumers with healthy and top quality products."

In Nicaragua, the Ministry’s counterpart stated that it "recognizes the important role animals play in the environmental balance and their effect on the quality of life of Nicaraguan society and the world."

They join 35 other governments, including the entire European Union.

Recognizing responsibilities

Following this amazing new support, Latin America is now both sending and receiving a strong message about the responsibility of individuals and governments to end animal cruelty.

"With the support of Bolivia, we are one step further to ensuring that animal welfare is recognized as an issue of regional importance. The support displayed by the government … is a sign of their willingness to improve the quality of life for animals and protect the rich biodiversity the country fosters. This is an example to be followed by others, since animal welfare is a global issue", said Luis Carlos Sarmiento, Regional Director for WSPA South America.

Their support reflects a recent championing of animal welfare:

  • In 2009, Bolivia passed a groundbreaking anti-cruelty law prohibiting the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses. In addition, a second animal protection law – notably including the welfare of animals bred for meat – is being discussed by the congress.

  • Nicaragua, who first made a move to support a UDAW on Earth Day, is poised to approve a new animal welfare law that seeks to improve conditions for pets and wildlife.

Snowballing support

Senator Edwin Castro shows his support for a UDAW at Nicaragua's National Earth Festival

WSPA believes this latest support sets a fantastic regional precedent. Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica have all recently made significant progress towards full government support for the development of a UDAW.

Widespread high-level backing will help convince the UN that animal welfare is an issue worth highlighting within the international community by endorsing a Declaration.

"We are extremely pleased that the [Nicaraguan] Foreign Ministry … gave its firm support for a UDAW. This could generate a snowball effect in the region and can be a great motivation for others to support this important initiative", said Marcela Vargas, Program Manager for WSPA Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

What will you do for animals?

Not only governments make change happen. More than two million people, representing every country in the world, have stated their belief that animals deserve to be treated humanely and their needs respected.

Will you join them? Will you support a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare?

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