Last week the G77 – a loose coalition of 130 developing countries represented at the United Nations – hosted their first ever ambassador-level briefing on animal welfare issues and how they impact on human livelihoods. WSPA provided the briefing.
“The relevance of animal welfare to the G77 is clear: of the one billion poorest people in the world, over 750 million depend totally on animals for a living. Most of those poor live in G77 countries,” said Major General Peter Davies, Director General of WSPA.
This was the highest-level presentation about animal welfare ever received at UN headquarters in New York, showing that compassionate treatment of animals is now gaining widespread, serious consideration.
WSPA worked with a representative from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture to highlight how animal welfare is an essential component of the UN’s own development goals, including their environmental and humanitarian agenda.
Animal welfare: no Western luxury
Animal welfare, for their own sake, has many valuable knock-on effects for developing nations.
H.E. Mario H. Castellón, representing Nicaragua, spoke about the great dependency on animals in developing countries with large rural populations.
He said: “People need animals for working in agriculture, as means of transport or food. Having healthy animals will help the rural development, which will also have implications in urban areas.”
This was echoed by Dr Andrea Parrilla, Head of the Animal Welfare Commission of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Brazil.
She highlighted that simple, cheap changes to farming systems would result in both better welfare conditions for the animals and increased productivity, benefiting local people and the economy.
Making animals matter
This briefing was important for WSPA as it is campaigning for UN endorsement of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) – an agreement between nations that will protect animals from cruelty and clarify the link between animal welfare and humanitarian development.
“The UDAW provides a common framework that national governments can use to initiate sustainable development policies that include animal welfare principles,” said Larry Roeder, WSPA’s UN Affairs Director.
To date, Cambodia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Seychelles and Sweden have all officially endorsed the principles of the Declaration. Our hope now is that the G77 nations will join them.