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Friday, 01 December 2017 00:00

Raise Awareness for Animals During the United Nations Environment Assembly!

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What is it?

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is an opportunity for decision-makers, stakeholders and civil society organizations to convene in Nairobi, Kenya, with the aim of taking policy action for the environment. This year’s UNEA is taking place from 4-6 December under the theme of “Towards a pollution free future.” You can read more about UNEA in our recent blogs.

pig2WAN’s co-founder, Janice Cox, and a colleague from Compassion in World Farming, are currently in Nairobi attending UNEA and the preparatory processes taking place the week before. WAN’s key goal at this UNEA is to raise awareness of animal agriculture’s monumental contribution to air, soil and water pollution, as well as making the case for a move away from anthropocentric thinking – by raising the need for recognition of animal health and well-being, in place of the current situation where animals are lumped in with “ecosystems” and “sustainable use of biodiversity” championed at the UN.

We don’t need polluting animal agriculture to feed the world; animals interests and well-being must be recognized; and wild animals should not be considered merely “capital.”

You can help us raise awareness about these issues! Here’s how:

Leading up to and during UNEA, you can take two minutes to post about animals and UNEA on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve even created a list of relevant hashtags to use, and drafted posts to help you get started!

Want even more background on the issues? Check out our blog from last week where you will find briefings on the various types of pollution stemming from animal agriculture.

Key Themes


There are many forms of pollution being addressed by UNEA, and all are vitally important in the future of our shared planet. However, one key issue is not receiving the attention it deserves, and that is the issue of pollution created by animal agriculture. This includes the actual production of animals itself, as well as the massive system in place to produce feed for animal agriculture, which requires major inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, adding to the pollution created by the sector. This issue must be decisively addressed if we are to end localized air pollution affecting communities around factory farms, ocean deadzones, massive fish kills and harm to marine mammals caused by runoff in freshwater, and end the degradation of soil that is worsening as our agricultural systems intensify. In addition, animal agriculture has a massive contribution to climate change by releasing methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Join in raising awareness about this issue by using the hashtag #AnimalAgPollutes.


At the moment, there is a new interpretation of humanity’s relationship with nature that is winding its way through the UN system. Animals are not separately considered, but are lumped in with “ecosystems” or “biodiversity”. There is no recognition of the need to protect their interests or well-being. Instead, the concept of “sustainable use of biodiversity” is referred to, backed by phrases such as “natural capital.” This ignores the fact that animals are sentient beings possessing social complexity and even culture (which is, thankfully, recognized increasingly in the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species). We want to dispel this concept, and ensure that the wellbeing of animals is recognized and respected, because #AnimalsAreNotCapital.

Linking to the UNEA Discussion on Twitter

When you post, make sure that you link your post with UNEA’s main hashtags, so that those following the conversation will see your contribution. You can use these hashtags:


Images you can use

Feel free to download and distribute these images with your hashtags!

AnimalAgPollutes AIR  AnimalAgPollutes Landuse AnimalAgPollutes ocean AnimalAgPollutes soil2 AnimalAgPollutes Freshwater

 AnimalsAreNotCapital DEER AnimalsAreNotCapital ELE AnimalsAreNotCapital FOX AnimalsAreNotCapital RHINO AnimalsAreNotCapital TIGER

Ideas for your posts

Here are some ideas for your posts that you can use or adapt to suit your own needs! If you’re feeling really creative, you can use our briefings to come up with your own original posts!

Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

#Animals are sentient and cannot be “sustainably used.” They deserve separate consideration. #AnimalsAreNotCapital #UNEA3 #UNEPCivSoc

It is time to move beyond anthropocentrism, and consider interests of #animals. #AnimalsAreNotCapital #UNEA3 #UNEPCivSoc

It’s time to end GDP as measure of #development. Time to prioritize human, nature & #animal wellbeing. #UNEA3 #sustdev #AnimalsAreNotCapital

Land Pollution

Industrial ag is an “extractive industry.” It is time for a new system that works for people, environment & animals. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes

UNCCD Global Land Outlook: Meat reduction is the way forward. #UNEA #AnimalAgPollutes

Animal ag (and animal feed production) is polluting the earth’s soils with nitrogen and heavy metals. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes

Freshwater and Marine Pollution

Animal ag is a leading polluter of freshwater streams, rivers, etc. in US. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes #nodirtybusiness

Aquaculture pollutes too: eutrophication, oxygen depletion & contaminating native fish pops. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes #nodirtybusiness

Largest recorded #deadzone in Gulf of Mex—caused by animal ag. #AnimalAgPollutes #nodirtybusiness #UNEA3

Air Pollution

Toxic gases, odors, particulates & pathogens—contents of localized air pollution around/in factory farms. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes #nodirtybusiness

Anthropogenic GHG emissions from livestock sector: 65% nitrous oxide & 39% methane, both stronger than CO2. #AnimalAgPollutes #UNEA3 #nodirtybusiness

Livestock sector creates more GHG emissions than transportation sector. #UNEA3 #AnimalAgPollutes


Jessica Bridgers

Jessica is the Executive Director at World Animal Net. Having received a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of New Mexico, she combines a scientific background with a passion for animal protection. She completed her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and internships with Humane Society International, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before arriving at World Animal Net. In her free time, she volunteers with horse and wildlife rescues. 


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