Lobbying leads to UN policy win for the welfare of farm animals worldwide

19 October 2016

After we lobbied the United Nations, governments will now prioritise animal welfare thanks to new policy recommendations

Farm animals worldwide will be better protected following the adoption of groundbreaking global policy recommendations on animal welfare in farming, made by the UN this week.

Following our extensive work, substantive language on animal welfare was included in the recommendations, which have been adopted by member countries.

A massive step forward

This change by the UN is a massive step forward in putting animal welfare at the front and centre of farming. It means countries will no longer ask ‘should we include animal welfare?’ but ‘how do we deliver better animal welfare?’

The ruling was made at the UN Committee on World Food Security meeting in Rome on Monday (October 17). 

Paving the way for change

Our lobbying efforts over the past two years have helped lay the groundwork for these changes in global policy, which involve:

  • the inclusion of language on animal welfare, making it clear that governments should prioritise animal welfare in designing their country’s farming systems
  • emphasis that animals should be able to live free from pain, distress and hunger, and be able to demonstrate natural behaviours as set out by the Five Freedoms and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards and principles
  • recommendations stressing the importance of animal health and access to veterinary services.

The recommendations were informed by a High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) report on farm animal welfare, which informed the priorities. Our Head of Policy, Lesley Mitchell was one of the experts to input to the report.

Lesley says: “By treating animals well, we can fight poverty, reduce hunger, improve people’s health, tackle climate change and protect the biodiversity of our planet. We’ve been working to make sure the vital importance of animal protection is recognised at a global level.

“This is clear acknowledgement that better animal welfare contributes to better food security for communities, which in turn helps to tackle sustainable development goals to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.”

We will continue to work directly with key countries to embed these recommendations in policy and practice.

Despite this great step forward for farm animals, billions suffer every year on industrial farms.

You can help by signing our petition, urging KFC, one of the world’s largest fast-food chains, to help end the secret suffering of chickens.

“By treating animals well, we can fight poverty, reduce hunger, improve people’s health, tackle climate change and protect the biodiversity of our planet." - World Animal Protection Head of Policy, Lesley Mitchell.

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