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Saturday, 03 June 2017 00:00

Reflections on the Animal Protection Movement

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Introduction

The final regional preparatory meeting of the UN’s 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place in Addis Ababa from 17-19 May 2017, hosted by the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa. Being based in South Africa, I attended this on behalf of World Animal Net (WAN), after discovering that no other African Animal Protection Organisations (APOs) were planning to attend.

As the UN’s 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) draws near, regional preparatory meetings that feed into the HLPF are taking place around the world. Just two weeks ago, from 3-5 May, the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development took place in Rabat, Morocco. We were pleased to partner with RAPAD Morocco (the French acronym for the Associative Network for Animal Welfare and Sustainable Development), a national federation covering both animal protection and sustainability issues based in Morocco, who was able to attend the Forum and ensure that animals had a voice there.

The Sustainable Development Goals and Animals

Animal Protection Organizations (APOs) across the world were once again disappointed when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed by UN member countries back in September 2015. These included no specific mention of Animal Welfare (AW), and no recognition of animal sentience. Instead, animals were lumped in with “natural resources”, and treated as if they were no more than inanimate objects to be divvied up for human use and profit. We were not alone in our disappointment, as other NGOs also pointed to the anthropocentric nature of the goals, and the fact that they overlook the central importance of nature and animals to our world and our humanity.

Animal Issues Woefully Underrepresented at the United Nations

As the leading intergovernmental organization promoting human and environmental rights, you would have expected the United Nations (UN) to give proper consideration to animal welfare issues – particularly bearing in mind the many cross-cutting issues involved and the number of intersections between animal welfare and human rights and the environment. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

As has been discussed previously on the blog, World Animal Net’s Janice Cox was invited as a panelist on animal welfare to the recent World Bank Global Practice Forum, which took place in March in Washington, DC.

WAN participated in the 2014 People’s Climate March, where we brought a giant inflatable cow emblazoned with the words, “I’m full of greenhouse gases, do you have steak in it?” Three years later, we are proud partners of the People’s Climate March, which will take place April 29th. There will be numerous marches in the United States, but also around the world. As partners of the March, we want to take the opportunity to call on animal advocates to take part in the March.

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