Integrating animal welfare into sustainable development: a policy agenda

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So far, none of 2030 Reference of the 169 objectives of the Agendas the welfare of individual animals. Fifty years after the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration, we argue that the lack of consideration of animal welfare in the development of sustainable development policies has been a significant oversight. Our current treatment of animals affects our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and human-induced environmental challenges and our interventions to mitigate or adapt to them often affect animals.

Verkuijl, Sebo, Hötzel, Visseren-Hamakers, Achakulwisut, Bastos Lima and Green identify three main ways to integrate animal welfare into sustainable development policy-making: (a) consider animal welfare in the international policy and legal instruments; (b) improve national and local policies to better reflect animal welfare concerns while ensuring that other social, health and economic goals are achieved; and (c) pave the way for further action through improved knowledge, capacity building, representation and international cooperation.

Integrating animal welfare concerns into sustainability policy will require transformative changes in key industries, practices and values, and may encounter resistance from vested interests. It will take innovative thinking to maximizecut synergies and minicut trade-offs between different areas of sustainable development policy, including through just transition planning and support. Nevertheless, making animal welfare more prominent within the framework of sustainable development is an opportunity to implement a wide range of policies that benefit both humans and non-human animals.

This document is part of a series that supports the Stockholm+50: unlocking a better future report.

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