Friday, 31 October 2008

ICAWC 2008 Presentation: The Universal Declaration for Animal Welfare - Peter Davies

Previous presentation: Vision: the What, the Why and the How - Andy Ashcroft

As a late replacement for Mike Radford, Maj. Gen. Peter Davies has stepped in to speak on a subject of his choice, the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare. He is the Director General of the WSPA of which Dogs Trust is a part.

12:25: Peter covers the history of the UN declaration, the seeds of which began while he was Director General of the RSPCA. There had already been one failed attempt to reach consensus in Paris, so he decided to resurrect it, and at first it was very complicated.

Once agreed, however, implementation is all about getting governments to become part of it. To begin with, the government of the Philipines offered to host a gathering in Manila. Unfortunately, a late, unapproved edit to the text referring to trade caused the meeting to stall. Through the night, the agreement was rewritten to be presented again to delegates the following day. The resultant document focussed on the Amsterdam Protocal - the idea that animals are sentient, feel pain and can suffer.

12:30: It was not straightforward. Small compromises on wording did have to be made, alternative wording for some paragraphs was provided - no resolution can be totally perfect. But now, on the strength of that, a formal drafting will be made based on the model that has been created.

Among others, full government support or ministerial support has been obtained for this from:
  • Sweden
  • New Zealand
  • Cambodia
  • Fiji
  • The Seychelles
  • UK
  • Croatia
  • Bahrain
  • Costa Rica
  • Columbia
An impressive list of worldwide veterinary associations have also signed up to UDAW.

12:35: Where do other organisations come in?

Currently, 1.6 million signatures appear on petitions. More can be added! The target is 10 million, which would be the world's largest petition.

You can sign the petition online. I've just done it myself!


Next presentation: TNR: The Template - Carolyn Menteith

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