On 5 March the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) celebrated the government of Costa Rica’s support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).
This vibrant public event, held in the heart of San José, was in part inspired by Costa Rica’s president, Oscar Arias Sánchez, recently becoming the UDAW petition’s one-millionth signatory.
His support for the UDAW is part of the government’s “Peace for Nature” initiative, which comprises institutional and individual commitments to protect natural resources.
Celebrations move politicians
During the event, the National Vice-President, Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, the Minister of Environment, Roberto Dobles, and the Minister of Education, Leonardo Garnier, all signed up to support the UDAW.
The three government representatives then broke protocol, stepping down from the platform to collect signatures from the audience.
A message for all ages
More than 100 children from three local schools participated in the event’s colourful theatrical, musical and face-painting activities.
The opening parade, featuring actors dressed as animals, helped bring the meaning of the UDAW alive for the young animal lovers.
Building a global movement
President Oscar Arias Sánchez, who supported today’s event, recognises animal welfare as a matter of global importance:
“A huge challenge stands in front of us: building without destroying. We must develop a society where the construction of housing would not destroy the habitat; where industry and commerce would not mean pollution; where human life would not lead to death of plants and animals. Because we need both development and ecological balance with respect to animals and all forms of life”.
WSPA Costa Rica regional director, Patrick O’Marr, said:
“WSPA is thrilled that President Oscar Arias Sánchez is highlighting animal welfare in Costa Rica. Joining forces to improve animal welfare and the environment at the same time should set the precedent for future cooperation between non-governmental organisations and governments all over the world.”