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The first National Congress on Farm Animal Welfare, held in Costa Rica this week, addressed the mistreatment of farm animals and its results: suffering for the animals and hardship for the people who rely on animal products for their livelihoods.
Within Costa Rica itself, a study by local organisation CORFOGA showed that the meat production sector loses approximately US$1 million each year, a considerable amount for a small country that exports farm animal products.
This economic argument complements WSPA’s campaign for better conditions and humane slaughter for farm animals, which is based on the science of animal welfare.
More than 130 people, including animal handlers and transporters, slaughterhouse-workers, industry officials, veterinarians, professors, government representatives and students attended the conference, organised by WSPA and partners to address the issue of improving farm animal welfare in the region.
They saw presentations from high-level international speakers, one of whom – Mr. Edwin Pérez (ILRI-CFC) – pointed out how significant the application of animal welfare measurements is in the production process, finding a place where welfarists and businessmen can agree.
Marcela Vargas, Programme Manager for WSPA, believes the congress was a milestone for animal welfare in the region. “We were pleased to see diverse sectors responding to the call to improve the condition of the animals dedicated to meat production” she added.
WSPA will continue to promote the welfare message to all sectors of the Latin American farming community.
WSPA’s Colombian and Costa Rican offices organised a meeting of the Latin American Coalition for Farm Animals (LACFA) to follow the congress on 13 June.
This gathering was another hugely significant step for farm animal welfare in the region, bringing relevant stakeholders together for the first time in order to devise a farm animal welfare strategy for Latin America.
The Congress on Farm Animal Welfare was organised by WSPA and partners including EARTH University, CORFOGA, the National Service for Animal Health (SENASA) and Humane Society International (HSI). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and the National School of Veterinary supported the meeting.
LACFA is comprised of members from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile, including WSPA member societies the Foundation of Animal Welfare in Argentina (FABA), Animal Protection of Ecuador (PAE), Humane Society International (HSI), Stella Huertas of Bienestar Animal in Uruguay, Carman Gallo of Bienestar Animal in Chile, and five members who sit on their national animal welfare committees.