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.