Adopt a UN Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)

This was originally initiated by some of the major animal charities in 2000. Unfortunately, it has yet to achieve the required number of signatories. If adopted by the UN, UDAW would become a non-binding set of principles that acknowledges the importance of animal sentience and human responsibilities towards them.  These principles would encourage and enable governments to introduce and improve animal protection legislation. UDAW would also mark the moral development of humanity.  The declaration, updated in 2014, is outlined below.

The declaration calls for:

  • Recognition that animals are living, sentient beings and therefore deserve due consideration and respect
  • Recognition that animal welfare includes animal health and encompasses both the physical and psychological state of the animal and that good practices in animal welfare can have major benefits for humans and the environment
  • Recognition that humans inhabit this planet with other species and other forms of life and that all forms of life co-exist within an interdependent ecosystem
  • Recognition of the importance of the ongoing work of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in setting global standards for animal welfare and that member states should adopt all necessary measures to give effect to the principles of UDAW, including the implementation of these standards
  • Acknowledgment that many states already have a system of legal protection for animals, both domestic and wild and that the continued effectiveness of these systems must be ensured, with the development of better and more comprehensive animal welfare provisions
  • Awareness that the Five Freedoms (freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour) and the Three Rs (reduction in numbers of animals, refinement of experimental methods and replacement of animals with non-animal techniques) provide valuable guidance for the use of animals
  • Recognition that the provisions contained in this declaration do not affect the rights of any state

The principles of the declaration are:

  1. The welfare of animals shall be a common objective for all states and all appropriate steps shall be taken by member states to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their suffering.
  2. The policies, legislation and standards of animal welfare attained by each state shall be promoted, recognized and observed by improved measures, nationally and internationally. Each member state should care for and treat animals in a humane and sustainable manner in accordance with the principles of the Declaration.
  3. All appropriate steps shall be taken by states to prevent cruelty to animals and to reduce their suffering.
  4. Appropriate policies, legislation and standards on the welfare of animals will be further developed and elaborated, such as those governing the use and management of farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife animals, and animals in recreation.
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