Thursday, 26 April 2012

More than 100,000 People to the UN: "The Humane Future We Want for Farm Animals"

World Society for the Protection of Animals

Today at the United Nations, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) handed nearly 110,000 signatures on its global petition to improve the treatment of farm animals, to the Executive Coordinators of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Ms. Elizabeth Thompson and Mr. Brice Lalonde. The petition represents the significant and growing worldwide support for Pawprint – WSPA's campaign to put farm animal welfare on the agenda at Rio+20 in June.

Every day, billions of animals suffer on industrial farms. Pigs, chickens and cows are unable to move freely, breathe fresh air or even feel the sunlight. Not only is this one of the worst animal abuses in the world, it also has negative effects on the environment, poverty and human health. Through Pawprint, people from every corner of the globe have asked world leaders to include animal welfare as part of the discussions at Rio+20.

"We are thrilled that tens of thousands of people around the world have acknowledged that the well-being of animals is crucial to the future of people and our planet," said Luis Carlos Sarmiento, Country Director of WSPA-South America. "Now, more than ever, it is evident that better animal welfare belongs on the conference agenda."

"It is very encouraging to see such vast support for implementation of comprehensive humane and sustainable agriculture practices," said Mr. Lalonde. "Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture is one of the priority areas that will be addressed at Rio+20."

In the lead up to the conference in June, WSPA has sponsored high-level expert meetings, and developed several credible reports and farm-based case studies – all of which showcase that humane farming is a viable, environmentally-friendly alternative to intensive industrial production methods. WSPA's goal is to lobby five recommendations to the UN, national government delegates and the agricultural industry:
  1. Develop policies for sustainable food supplies
  2. Manage the unsustainable demand for farm animal products
  3. Support research and development of humane and sustainable agriculture
  4. Phase out subsidies and investments in unsustainable, inhumane systems
  5. Recognizes the importance of farm animal welfare to poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods
In addition to helping the animals themselves, humane and sustainable treatment of farm animals has been shown to provide a series of health, safety and environmental benefits:
  • Meat from grass-fed cattle can contain as little as half the fat of that reared in intensive, grain-fed farming
  • Cage-free poultry farms in the UK were found to be significantly less likely to harbour bacteria that can cause deadly food poisoning
  • Grass-fed beef production can use just half the fossil fuel energy of intensive industrial farming
And, as ranchers in the U.S. have shown, farms that allow cows to graze on pasture are creating long-term local jobs.

  1. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) seeks to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. To achieve this we are active in more than 50 countries, working directly with animals and with people and organisations that can ensure they are treated with compassion. We campaign effectively to combat the most 
intense and large-scale animal welfare issues, and are the world leader in animal-focused disaster response and risk reduction. Locally, we improve animals' lives by working with communities and owners. Globally, we hold special consultative status at the United Nations and consultative status at the Council of Europe and collaborate with national governments to introduce animal welfare into the most pressing global debates. For more information, visit our website, follow us on Twitter and "Like" our Facebook page.
  2. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) will take place June 20-22, in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after the precedent-setting 1992 "Earth Summit," that pioneered international action on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development in all nations.