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Rio+20 : Submission
World Animal Net
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: World Animal Net
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Sustainable consumption and production (0 hits), SCP (1 hits), sustainable production and consumption (0 hits),

Full Submission

Joint submission by World Animal Net and 109 partner-organisations to the compilation document in preparation of the zero draft of the Rio+20 outcome document

Expectations for the outcome of Rio+20:

Together with 109 partner-organizations from more than 50 countries from all UN regions, World Animal Net believes that by focusing on the theme of a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, the Rio+20 Summit will provide a key opportunity to address how we treat animals, be they wild, companion, working or farm animals or more generally animals in disasters. We believe that the welfare of animals needs to be considered within policies that affect them and particularly the welfare of livestock used for farming, as their welfare is directly affected by human activities.

Therefore, World Animal Net and 109 partner-organizations would like to recommend the Rio+20 outcome document?s considerations include specific commitments on global agriculture systems and food supply chains that will allow achieving global food security while preserving ecosystems and ensuring human and animal welfare. The outcome document must recognize the benefits of humane and sustainable livestock production.

To integrate the three pillars of sustainable development, World Animal Net and its partner-organisations recommend the following measures:

1. Develop policies for humane and sustainable food supplies IGOs, national governments and food supply industries urgently need to develop policies for sustainable and humane food supply chains. For livestock production to have a reduced impact on climate change and to be sustainable, it must be biologically based, socially just and humane. To achieve this, animal welfare needs to be included in all future discussions on agriculture, land use and climate change.

2. Manage unsustainable demand for farm animal products and support producers in transition National governments and IGOs need to develop mechanisms to deal with the current acceleration in meat and dairy production, notably in grain feeding and intensive production methods that are not ecologically sustainable. Both the proposals for Sustainable Development Goals (Colombia, Guatemala) and the Millennium Consumption Goals (prof. Munasinghe) would provide excellent ways to ground commitment for this and establish clear, measurable targets for changing food consumption patterns. Implementing an ambitious 10YFP on SCP that prioritizes sustainable and humane food production and consumption would also be highly desirable..

3. Research and development to support humane and sustainable agriculture Research is urgently needed to support farmers in developing livestock systems, breeds, feeding and management to ensure humane and sustainable animal production. Research is also required to determine effective policies for addressing meat consumption.

4. Phase out subsidies and investment for unsustainable, inhumane systems Financial support for industrial livestock production methods, such as unseen subsidies for externalized costs, should be ended. Economic mechanisms to support humane, sustainable livestock production (for example grants and research funding) should be prioritized.

Comments on the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

About a billion of the world?s poorest people depend on animals for food, income, transport, social status, and financial security.

With a view to achieve a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication - and more specifically to achieve sustainable development in agriculture and food production - the Rio+20 outcome document?s considerations on the future of food and farming must recognize the benefits of humane livestock systems . Ensuring the welfare and responsible use of animals is an effective tool to help achieve sustainable development through environmental protection, poverty alleviation and enhanced wellbeing:

1) Environmental sustainability ? Humane animal production systems reduce environmental damage Livestock production?s is well recognized as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions . It is also a highly polluting sector ? including phosphorus, nitrogen and pesticide contamination of water - and is a main cause of deforestation (for pasture and the growing of feeds).

Higher welfare animal production systems often require fewer inputs of grain feed, fuel and water. Pasture based systems utilise land otherwise unfit for production. They also keep animals at stocking densities that reduce the risk of major pollution and use breeds often more robust and resilient to environmental challenges. Pasture and mixed farm systems also have benefits such as such as biodiversity preservation and carbon sequestration in well-maintained grazing systems.

2) Economic sustainability - Good animal health and welfare can reduce costs and raise profits for producers Good animal health and welfare can reduce costs and raise profits for producers. For example, in dairy production, investing in increased cow longevity and fertility will help to achieve better returns in the form of milk and calves during the animal?s lifetime. Due care for the welfare of animals during handling and transport can limit bruising and levels of stress, preventing financial losses from poor meat quality and unnecessary damage to carcasses at the slaughterhouse. The perceived quality of high welfare products also often attracts a premium from consumers.

3) Social sustainability ?Human beings have an important role in protecting one another and other forms of life, in particular animals.? Safeguarding animal welfare of livestock forms an important part of this social responsibility.

Call for action:

? Develop policies for humane and sustainable food supplies

? Manage unsustainable demand for farm animal products and support producers in transition

? Phase out subsidies and investment for unsustainable, inhumane livestock systems

Institutional framework for sustainable development

Vulnerable groups need adequate representation in policy making processes. This is especially critical for the voiceless, for example future generations and animals.

Call for action:

Establish an ombudsperson system to defend the interests of future generations and animals.


Wim de Kok

President World Animal Net
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