Universal Declaration

A turtle glides through the water

The future of animal welfare lies in achieving international recognition that animals matter. WSPA is seeking this in the form of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

A declaration of our duty to respect animals and their welfare needs would have a long-term impact on the welfare of billions of animals and people worldwide.

Agreement on the importance of an issue affects people's attitudes, and attitudes affect actions.

What is it?

A Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare would be an agreement among people and nations that: 

  • Animals are sentient and can suffer.
  • Animals’ welfare needs must be respected.
  • Animal cruelty must end for good.

View the draft declaration (PDF file, 65KB) >>

What will it achieve?

The adoption of a UDAW by the United Nations would:

  • Establish animal welfare as an international issue.
  • Encourage governments to improve and enforce national animal welfare legislation by providing a benchmark.
  • Recognize that animal welfare is a key factor in humanitarian and environmental policy making.
  • Encourage industries which use animals to keep welfare at the forefront.
  • Acknowledge the risks to animals caused by environmental factors such as climate change, habitat loss and pollution.
  • Create a more compassionate global attitude to animal welfare, including their needs and habitats.

A declaration would also enhance the lives of over 1 billion people who rely on animals for their livelihoods, and the countless others who look to animals for companionship.

A UDAW would work for human health – animal welfare contributes to sustainable farming systems and the improvement of human food safety.

"Over 1 billion people in the world rely directly on their animals for survival, and Kenya is no different … People in my country know this. When there is a drought, we will often give water to our animals before we give it to ourselves."
Hon Noah Wekesa, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Kenya

For detailed arguments and case study examples of why and how animal welfare matters, download the UDAW lobby brochure (PDF 1MB) >>

What can I do?

Join WSPA, over 220 animal welfare groups, and supportive governments around the world in calling for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Sign the petition today

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Act now for animal welfare

Support a Universal Declaration to protect all animals

Elephants at a Kenyan orphanage run by a member society