All around the world, thousands of animal rights groups work endlessly for the sole purpose of looking after the overall well-being for the planet’s very large variety of animals. Yet, even with the work put in by each individual organization and agency, there has yet to be an acknowledgement of animal welfare on the international level. Now however, the United Nations is being urged by numerous supporters and animals rights groups to adopt the Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare (UDAW) agreement.
The message is simple, and one that has been touted around for years—to recognize that animals are like humans in that they are capable of having emotions and feeling pain and suffering. To first see that animals are not as different from humans is the first, and perhaps hardest, step to understand. But once it is realized, the stage is set for numerous advantages that would eventually benefit both animals and humans, alike.
Organizations like the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), who is leading the charge in urging the United Nations to accept the terms of the UDAW, are certain that once global awareness is established pieces will then begin to fall into place that will take us to the future of animal rights and strengthen the relationship between animals and humans. Looking at the possible good that would come from this observance, it hard to imagine why nothing like this has been done before.
According to the WSPA, the international move would be the inspiration for similar work to be done on both the national and regional scales. This would in turn lead to the improvement of animal welfare legislation, businesses and manufacturers would evolve newer policies that would be in line with the safety of animals, a framework for animal rights legislation would be laid out in countries where little to no animal welfare legislation exists today, and an overall feeling of inter-species unity would continually “link humanitarian development and animal welfare agendas.”
In an attempt to reach the greater public, the Animals Matter campaign was launched with the hope of spreading the word to every corner of the world. What is more, this campaign has highlighted that humans, too, will see vast benefits by accepting the UDAW. Through cases studies, the Animals Matter campaign has been able to prove that in times of disaster, livelihoods and food will be secured and protected until a necessary time. Additionally, livelihoods will be able to stabilize once the animal populations, for which these livelihoods are dependent upon, maintain sustainable numbers. Poverty will be targeted through education, and eventually these profits will even begin to positively affect farming and cultivation.
The Preamble to the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare states: “That animal welfare is an issue worth consideration by governments…That the promotion of animal welfare requires collective action and all stakeholders and affected parties must be involved [and]…That work on animal welfare is a continuous process.”
Already with over 2 million supporters of the UDAW—along with several animal rights organization like the WSPA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)—it is a wonder that the United Nations has not already officially adopted such an agreement. To lend your voice to the many voices of the world and urge the United Nations to formally adopt the UDAW, please sign your name to the petition here.
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