WSPA has helped secure agreement from the UN to include sustainable livestock AND animal health on the agenda for the UN Earth Summit (Rio+20) the first time that the treatment of animals has ever been considered in global discussions on sustainable development at this level.
It is one of the few sparks of hope in a text put forward by the Brazilians that is generally devoid of any ambition. WSPA is now calling on global leaders to recognise the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices in ensuring we can feed the world sustainably and urging them to set goals to ensure animal welfare is core to future sustainable development.
WSPA has also been out in force in Rio this week bringing the message to politicians, policy makers and the public about our Pawprint Campaign and our Kinder Farming is Clever Farming approach to sustainable animal farming.
We have been getting the message across that left unchecked, the global demand for meat, eggs and milk is due to double from 2000 to 2050 and will have a major impact on land and energy use globally. Without policy change, the majority of the growth is projected to come from intensive animal farming. This focuses on maximising production by keeping animals indoors in cramped conditions, providing them with little space to move around, selective breeding to maximise growth and feeding on cereals and oilseeds.
The costs for both animals and humans is too high
To ensure we can feed the worlds growing population sustainably, the outcomes of Rio+20 must recognise the importance and benefits of humane animal farming practices. Developing humane animal welfare practices is central to society being able to tackle environmental and development issues such as climate change, disaster management, deforestation, pollution, water and food security says Dr Mike Appleby, WSPAs Chief Scientific Adviser for Humane Sustainable Agriculture. We want to ensure farm animal welfare is a core part of national and global policies for, and solutions to, food security, food safety and sustainable development.
We have five recommendations, we want Rio+20 to take forward;
- Recognise that good local and global animal welfare farming practice and policies are key to safeguarding people, animals and the environment
- Give formal government support to farmers who rear their livestock humanely and sustainably and phase out subsidies and investment to those farmers who do not.
- Make it clear that farm animals reared on humane, sustainable farms are vital to a countrys economic development and lifting people from poverty
- Address the challenge and highlight the local and global implications of the unsustainable demand for meat, eggs and dairy products.
- Support and invest in research and development that shows how animal-friendly farming systems protect and develop rural economies.
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