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Tuesday, 23 December 2014 18:04

WAN's Twelve Wishes for Animals for 2015

Written by  Jessica Bridgers, Akisha Townsend, and Janice Cox

2014 has been a busy year for WAN as we continue to develop our resources for the animal protection community and ramp up our advocacy with the UN and OIE. As the holiday season is rapidly approaching and 2014 coming to a close, we know that animal advocates worldwide are well-aware that there is still much work to be done. Therefore, we are happy to present WAN’s Twelve Wishes for Animals in 2015!

  1. holidaysThe conclusion of a far-reaching global strategy for animal welfare.
    The OIE is a key driver of animal welfare progress around the world. WAN has assisted the OIE in developing regional strategies in Africa, and advocated for the development of a far-reaching global strategy for animal welfare at the OIE. So we were delighted to learn that the OIE is currently working on a global strategy!

  2. The recognition of sentience in the OIE’s Guiding Principles on Animal Welfare.
    The OIE has established Guiding Principles for Animal Welfare and a rapidly growing body of international standards covering many different Animal Welfare issues. WAN feels that sentience, or the capacity to experience feelings, is a core concept in animal welfare which should be officially recognised and included in the OIE’s Guiding Principles.

  3. Official recognition of the need to mainstream animal welfare in development, accompanied by an international meeting on “Animal Welfare & Development”.
    Trends in global development have included the spread of industrialized animal agriculture, which carries with it a host of concerns for animal welfare, human health and the environment. Without the inclusion of animal welfare within development policy and practice (including the implementation of OIE animal welfare standards and strategies), the well-being of animals in development paradigms remains a looming problem.

  4. Official recognition of the need for humane education in national curriculums.
    WAN believes that humane education is necessary to create a compassionate and caring society which would take benign responsibility for ourselves, each other, our fellow animals and the earth. To this end, WAN has created extensive resources for organizations on developing and implementing humane education programs, and will carry out more work on this in 2015.

  5. Collaborative advocacy by animal protection organizations worldwide for the improvement of national policies and laws for animals.
    WAN believes firmly in the power of collaborative working, and has written extensively on how to collaborate successfully, as well as provided resources on animal protection law and strategic advocacy. We are also now concluding a model animal welfare act. WAN wishes that through these efforts, and those of collaborating animal protection organizations, modern and comprehensive laws which take full account of animals’ sentience and welfare needs will be established at national levels worldwide.

  6. Inclusion of animal welfare as an integral part of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
    WAN has held consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2001, and has recently used this platform to advocate for the inclusion of animal welfare under the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the framework that will guide global development with a focus on sustainability from 2015 on, and are the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. As part of this initiative, WAN has made several productive trips to the United Nations, and WAN has submitted a number of briefings to the UN regarding humane education, illegal wildlife trafficking and the link between animal welfare and biodiversity conservation.

  7. Official recognition of World Animal Day at the United Nations.
    World Animal Day, celebrated every October 4 around the world, serves as a reminder of the importance of animals and their wellbeing. In 2014, WAN assisted a number of organizations in organizing marches and celebrations around Africa in honour of World Animal Day. In 2014, the United Nations also formally recognized World Wildlife Day on March 3 of every year. It is WAN’s wish that World Animal Day also be formally recognized by the UN.

  8. Effective enforcement of the General Assembly Resolution on combatting illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching.
    With the passage of the first ever UN resolution focusing on illegal trade, it is our hope that the General Assembly, individual Member States, UN agencies, organizations and communities around the world can work together to end the horrors of poaching. WAN will continue to advocate on the ground at the United Nations, helping to make this vision a reality.

  9. The official recognition of industrial animal agriculture as the largest contributor to global climate change and the integration of animal welfare concerns into a universal agreement on the climate at the United Nations.
    In 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report Livestock's Long Shadow outlined livestock’s contribution to climate change and environmental destruction. In 2014, the UN hosted the Climate Summit, which resulted in the People's Climate March, one of the largest marches in modern history. WAN attended this march (together with our giant inflatable cow!) with the goal of drawing attention to the problem of animal agriculture. As more reports continue to support the link between animal agriculture and climate change, WAN wishes for the recognition of this link in a universal agreement on climate by the UN.

  10. Continued support from the World Trade Organization for animal welfare as a public moral issue which is a sufficient reason for trade bans.
    In 2014 the WTO upheld a ban on seal products in the European Union, concluding that animal welfare was an issue of sufficient public moral concern. WAN hopes that this landmark precedent will continue to be advanced by the WTO in future cases involving trade and animal welfare issues.

  11. The prioritization of industrial animal agriculture as a threat to human health.
    Industrial animal agriculture contributes heavily to antibiotic resistence and emerging zoonoses. However, according to the World Health Organization, zoonoses are largely neglected largely neglected in national and international health systems, despite the large number of people affected by them and the fact that they are largely preventable. It is WAN’s hope that national and international health policymaking bodies will begin work to recognize this problem, and more importantly, address it.

  12. The inclusion of animal welfare in constitutions of countries around the world.
    Including animal welfare in country, regional, and local constitutions can be a powerful driver of change in animal welfare. WAN has been busy compiling animal welfare clauses from constitutions around the world and preparing materials to assist organizations in advocating for the inclusion of animal welfare in their own constitutions. (As a teaser, 72 countries currently include some aspects of animal welfare or protection of nature and the environment in their constitutions! Does yours?) We look forward to presenting this work to you in the first week of 2015!

Until then, Happy Holidays from the WAN Team!

About the WAN Blog

The WAN blog allows us to share our expertise in the fields of policy, science, communications, management, and more in a manner that animal protection organizations can easily incorporate into their everyday work for animals. The blog also provides the opportunity to highlight important work of individual organizations and campaigns, and allows researchers, experts, and others outside of WAN to provide useful information to the animal protection community. 

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