A global animal welfare campaign backed by Karen Buck MP and Defra in an Early Day Motion last year, has received a major boost from the European Union (EU), with all 27 member states voting unanimously to actively support the campaign.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) applauds the EU for being the first regional forum to formally pledge its support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare2 (UDAW) and thanks all 230 British MPs who have backed the campaign to date, for their invaluable support in the UK.
The EU’s unanimous support is a vital breakthrough for the WSPA-led campaign to achieve global recognition for animal welfare. The campaign is also supported by the British Veterinary Association and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and has been endorsed by the UK Government and others from around the world3.
Global recognition by the UN of animal welfare would not only protect animals and reduce unnecessary suffering, but also better the development of a country, whether reducing poverty and hunger, improving human health, preparing for and recovering from natural disasters, or helping the environment.
John Gray, WSPA UK Regional Director said: “With this announcement, the EU has acknowledged the strong links that animal welfare has with other established global development issues such as climate change, food security, human health and poverty reduction.”
The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council, made up of all EU Ministers of Agriculture, issued a Council Conclusion4 which states that it:
• DEEMS it important to achieve world-wide acceptance of animal welfare as an issue of common concern and importance;
• ENCOURAGES the Commission to continue, as announced in its Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals, "to support and initiate further international initiatives to raise awareness and create a greater consensus on animal welfare";
• INVITES the Member States and the Commission, within their respective competencies, to support, in principle, the UDAW initiative in the relevant international fora.
This will help WSPA and its partners to discuss the benefits of good animal welfare – for animals, people and the environment – thereby encouraging partnership with UN member states from all regions of the UN and finally take the Declaration to the floor of the UN General Assembly.