Written by Jessica Bridgers, then Executive Director at World Animal Net; originally published on 2 October 2020 at WorldAnimal.Net Blog


World Animal Net has brought together animal protection and environmental NGOs from across the world–Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe–on World Animal Day, celebrated on 4th October, to call on global leaders to address the wellbeing of animals in COVID-19 recovery and financing efforts.

The fact that the COVID-19 crisis very likely arose from the exploitation of animals has drawn greater attention to how human uses of animals can increase the risk of future pandemics. In July, a report released by the UN Environment Program and the International Livestock Research Institute identified the increase in consumption of animal products, intensification of animal production systems, and wildlife exploitation as primary drivers of pandemic risk.

It is therefore imperative that to reduce the future risk of pandemics global leaders take concrete steps to incorporate One Health and One Welfare into policies. One Health is a concept which recognizes the linkages between human, animal and environmental health, while One Welfare extends this concept to other aspects of wellbeing, such as food security and livelihoods. Incorporating a One Welfare approach is key to eliminating policy silos, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring an equitable, sustainable and humane future.

Despite this, millions in development funding continue to be funneled into farming systems which increase the risk of future pandemics, even as calls to “build back better” grow.

Through a new “manifesto,” the NGOs outline key policies and actions required to transform farming systems, shift food consumption habits, end the unnecessary exploitation of wildlife, increase vaccine development efficiencies, and ensure the wellbeing of animals in communities, such as companion animals and working equines. The manifesto also provides recommendations specifically to leading institutions on the international stage, such as the UN General Assembly and international financial institutions. The document will be shared with policymakers throughout the month of October, in recognition of World Animal Day on 4th October.

You can download the PDF here.

Jessica Bridgers

Jessica Bridgers

Policy Director, World Federation for Animals

Jessica Bridgers is the Policy Director for the World Federation for Animals. Previously she was the Executive Director at World Animal Net. 

Jessica focuses on increasing consideration for animals in international policy, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Environment, and the World Organisation for Animal Health. She achieves this by creating and supporting platforms where animal protection organizations can collaborate to influence policy.

Prior to joining World Animal Net in 2013, Jessica was a research assistant at Tufts Wildlife Clinic and produced a report on the public health implications of factory farming in South Asia for Humane Society International. She holds an M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and a B.S. in Biology with minors in Anthropology and Chemistry.

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