WSPA finds influential, attentive audience at UN sustainability meet

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Pre-cursor to Rio +20 sees UN and international governments hear WSPA link animal welfare to sustainability.

Last week, at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, WSPA co-hosted a side event in the run-up to Earth Summit 2012, together with the environmental organisation, Bioregional, showing how good animal welfare is an essential part of the world’s sustainability argument for food production. Bioregional spoke separately about the need for sustainability in housing.

The event was attended by many influential members of national governments and of the United Nations, meaning that our message will be carried far beyond the event itself.

Attendees included significant representation from United Nations’ staff in different agencies, especially development NGOs, alongside 16 delegates from national governments. The level of attendance was impressive for a side event and included delegates from key developing and developed nations, including China, the UK, Mexico, Italy and African countries.

Animal welfare matters to sustainability

Delegates heard Vicki Hird, Humane Sustainable Agriculture (HSA) Campaigner for WSPA, give WSPA’s five core recommendations for the upcoming Earth Summit 2012, also known as Rio +20, and set out why the humane treatment of farm animals must be at the heart of the debate on global sustainable food production and consumption.

“It is very encouraging to have so many influential people in the same room listening and responding positively to WSPA’s message that animal welfare is an essential ingredient in the mix of issues making up the sustainability argument,” said Hird. “Whether it’s food security, livelihoods or climate change, good animal welfare is key in food production worldwide.”  

Amongst the positive feedback from government delegates, Costa Rica praised WSPA for “having a clear position for Rio - really excellent” and the Panama delegate who was “interested in the issue - farming is key in many areas”. A representative from the United Nations said that he was “hugely impressed with the turnout and we put some valuable points across to start people thinking about this issue”.  The next step is to take the issue to a major conference on sustainable societies in Bonn in September.

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