In an article written for Animal Spirit magazine in March 2020 Covid-19 – When Will We Heed Nature’s Warnings?, we asked why the lessons of past pandemics, which had all derived from animal abuse, had not been learned and I suggested that we should campaign at the United Nations (UN) to end animal abuse and ensure such pandemics never happen again.
AIA wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, in April 2020, asking for the UN to take decisive action to prevent further pandemics. The letter called on the UN to do everything in its power to ensure that governments around the world learn from the pandemic and put measures in place to mitigate against the risk of future pandemics occurring. The letter listed the measures required. We received a very positive response from his office.
Since then we have been supporting the UN Environment Programme’s Faith for Earth Initiative whose vision is “A world where everything is in balance” and whose mission is “to encourage, empower and engage with faith-based organisations as partners, at all levels, toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda”. We exchanged emails with Faith4Earth’s Director, Iyad Abumoghli, based in Nairobi, who kindly posted AIA’s article on the Faith4Earth’s website page Faith in the Frontline with Covid 19.
Our key aim, as an alliance of faith-based organisations, will be to get animals on to the agenda of the UN Environment Programme’s Faith4Earth.
What needs to be done?
We need to put animals at the centre of UN policy on the environment. We have to end, not just wildlife markets, but all factory farming and all forms of animal abuse. Confining animals in close spaces, where they cannot express their natural behaviours, is not only cruel and unbefitting of the species supposedly charged with stewardship of the Earth, but it is very dangerous to the health of humans, animals and the planet. As the human population grows, so the number of their factory farmed animals grows, and so the situation gets worse.
What do we want the UN to do?
What we require, and what we asked of the UN in our letter of March 2020, was the following:
– A worldwide ban on wet markets;
– A worldwide ban on the wildlife trade;
– A worldwide ban on the use of animals in traditional medicine;
– A worldwide ban on factory farming – all farming should be practised to a minimum of RSPCA Assured standards;
– A worldwide ban on the long distance transport of animals;
– A ban on the use of all animals in entertainment with zoos held to World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) standards;
– The promotion of non-animal based sources of nutrition (which will promote the health of the world’s population).
How can we achieve this?