Animals are integral to the ‘green economy’

In the lead up to next year’s Earth Summit, WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) has co-hosted a series of presentations on the crucial links between livestock production and the green economy. The event also provided a  showcase for farming methods which are sustainable, good for animals, people and the environment prior to the Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development.

WSPA and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) briefed staff from several countries’ missions to the United Nations, providing an opportunity to discuss the importance of livestock farming and food production to the development of greener, fairer economies.

Including animals in policy

WSPA’s latest briefing reveals why the humane treatment of farm animals is at the heart of the issues key to Rio+20 – including food security, environmental protection and poverty alleviation.

The event gave WSPA the opportunity to talk directly to the UN and to bring real farmers into the room to demonstrate the viability of higher welfare farming.

“A genuinely sustainable future for farming needs to be based around good animal welfare, protecting livelihoods and respect for the environment. It is essential that the Rio Summit in 2012 promotes humane sustainable agriculture, so it is hugely encouraging to hear this level of support,” said Dr. Lesley Lambert, Campaign Director at WSPA. “In the lead up to the Rio +20 conference next year, we will continue with our key ask of emphasising that farm animal welfare is core to the Rio agenda and placing it at the heart of all future policies on sustainable development.”

UN delegates applaud WSPA’s arguments

The briefing was well received by several UN missions that attended the event. "It is really enlightening to hear so many issues discussed at the same time, showing how sustainable development is interlinked,” said Juanita Castano from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).“It is easy to see how to achieve animal welfare by taking social, environmental and economic issues into account.”

Kenya’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. J. Ojiambo said: “The Kenya Mission to the United Nations is pleased to co-host this event and wishes to draw your attention to one part of the picture that is often overlooked; that of livestock; their health and welfare, the livelihoods of those tending them and the environment they have an impact on.”

You take care of the land and the herd…

One of the speakers at this event was Will Harris, farmer and owner of White Oak Pastures, the largest certified organic farm in Georgia (USA). The White Oak Pastures case study demonstrates the benefits of humane, sustainable agriculture as a business model that works for the farmer, the consumer, the animals and the environment.

Will Harris finds that the benefits of good animal welfare practice are tangible: “What we’re doing has had a very positive impact: from an animal welfare perspective, environmental stewardship perspective and economic impact perspective. A core value of my family has always been, ‘you take care of the land and the herd, and they will take care of you.’”

Including animals in policy

The event gave WSPA the opportunity to talk directly to the UN and to bring real farmers into the room to demonstrate the viability of high welfare farming.

In the lead up to the Rio+20 conference next year, we will continue with our key asks of making animal welfare core to the Rio agenda and placing it at the heart of all future policies on sustainable development

Click here to read the WSPA case study on White Oaks Pastures.

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