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UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19
3 December 2020
World Animals Net
Animal protection and environmental groups call for animal welfare to be included in COVID-19 recovery policies at special session of the UN General Assembly addressing pandemic
Today, animal protection and environmental NGOs from across the world are calling on global leaders meeting at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the coronavirus pandemic, taking place 3-4 December, to address the wellbeing of animals in COVID-19 recovery and financing efforts, as well as policies intended to “build forward better”.
As world leaders meet to consider the international cooperation required to deal with COVID-19, animal protection and environmental groups from Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe have signed a new joint-manifesto outlining actions required to transform farming systems, shift food consumption habits, end the unnecessary exploitation of wildlife, increase vaccine development efficiencies, and ensure animal wellbeing.
Reports that the COVID-19 crisis likely arose from the exploitation of animals, as well as recent revelations about potential COVID-19 variants emerging from mink farms, has drawn greater attention to how human uses of animals can increase the risk of future pandemics. In July, a study released by the UN Environment Programme 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.
To reduce the future risk of pandemics the manifesto implores global decision-makers to take concrete steps to incorporate policies linking the health of animals, the environment and humans into COVID-19 policy and financing to ensure a resilient, sustainable and humane future.
Animals Australia says:
The IMF estimates that the cost to the global economy of dealing with COVID-19 will eventually reach US$28 trillion. The costs of transitioning away from intensive animal farming and other high-risk animal industries, which would reduce animal suffering and the risk of future pandemics, is a fraction of that. The fact that over 150 global animal welfare and other organisations have come together to highlight the need for a more scientifically considerate and sustainable approach to rebuilding our food systems after the devastations of 2020 is a testament to the importance of these crucial investment considerations. It is imperative that at this historic moment in time decision-makers around the globe recognise the need to transition to sustainable plant-based agriculture – and we implore them to do so.
Asia for Animals says:
The Asia for Animals Coalition proudly supports this manifesto and the call for it to be addressed at the forthcoming General Assembly Special Session. The UN must seize this opportunity and lead the way in showcasing a One Health and One Welfare approach for the treatment of animals and the environment, and ensure Asian governments prioritise these actions. On behalf of our network organisations around the globe and the many millions of members they represent, we respectfully ask that the UN considers the stringent action points set out in this document as a move towards safeguarding our future globally and the sustainability of our planet as a whole.
Coalition of African Animal Welfare Organisations says:
There has never been an opportunity like we have today ‘to build back better’, Covid-19 is giving humanity a chance to reset and acknowledge our interconnectedness with nature. Science has proven time and again that zoonotic diseases spread faster and are deadlier when animals are kept in overcrowded conditions. Africa can not be dealt a blow by ‘paying for the sins’ of the developed world – a world which industrially farms animals. We call on the United Nations General Assembly to endorse and guide a transition towards a better life for all by promoting sustainable food systems that farm as close as possible to nature.
Eurogroup for Animals says:
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world, the question of how we treat animals has become even more central than before. One of the major drivers behind the spread of zoonoses is the pressure on biodiversity created by the loss of habitat. We’re sacrificing the habitat for agricultural purposes, especially intensive animal farming. A booming wildlife trade also contributes to this phenomenon. If we do not address the way we treat animals, we will only postpone the next pandemic. It is high time for the UN to include this question on its agenda.
The Global Forest Coalition says:
Increased intensification of agricultural products has not only shown the strong links between an increase in demand for meat, deforestation and climate change, but also its effects on human health. Previous swine and avian flu events already warned us about possible future outbreaks, but despite this, intensification of farm animal production has continued. Animal exploitation has reached unthinkable scales, as live animals are being exported without regard to animal welfare or the potential for zoonotic diseases. Today we pay the price. Hence, we need to ensure that sustainable food systems address these risks and put us on the desired path of living in harmony with nature, including the way we relate to other animal species in relation to our consumption habits.
Regards to all;