Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) is a proposed inter-governmental agreement to recognise that animals are sentient, to prevent cruelty and reduce suffering, and to promote standards on the welfare of animals such as farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife and animals in recreation.
It is proposed that a UDAW be adopted by the United Nations. If endorsed by the UN (as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was) the UDAW would be a non-binding set of principles that acknowledges the importance of the sentience of animals and human responsibilities towards them. The principles were designed to encourage and enable national governments to introduce and improve animal protection legislation and initiatives.
A draft text of the declaration, most recently updated by the OIE in 2014 provides a basis for states and peoples to work to improve their national animal welfare legislation, introduce animal welfare legislation in countries where it does not currently exist, encourage those businesses which use animals to keep welfare at the forefront of their policies, link humanitarian, development and animal welfare agendas nationally and internationally, inspire positive change in public attitudes towards animal welfare.
The Declaration calls for:
Recognition that animals are living, sentient beings and therefore deserve due consideration and respect.
Recognition that animal welfare includes animal health and encompasses both the physical and psychological state of the animal and that good practices in animal welfare can have major benefits for humans and the environment.
Recognition that humans inhabit this planet with other species and other forms of life and that all forms of life co-exist within an interdependent ecosystem.
Recognition of the importance of the ongoing work of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in setting global standards for animal welfare and that Member States should adopt all necessary measures to give effect to the principles of UDAW, including the implementation of these standards.
Acknowledgment that many states already have a system of legal protection for animals, both domestic and wild and that the continued effectiveness of these systems must be ensured, with the development of better and more comprehensive animal welfare provisions.
Awareness that the Five Freedoms (freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour) and the Three Rs (reduction in numbers of animals, refinement of experimental methods and replacement of animals with non-animal techniques) provide valuable guidance for the use of animals.
The principles of the Declaration are: