Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Universal Declaration campaign launched
Note 2014: WSPA has changed its name to World Animal Protection
WSPA USA is joining hundreds of other animal welfare organizations around the world, urging the United Nations to adopt an international agreement on the welfare of animals.
are seeking a total of 10 million signatures on the "Animals Matter to
Me" petition, making it the most ambitious global initiative on animal welfare
that has ever been attempted. This petition urges the United Nations to adopt a
Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare similar to earlier initiatives on human
rights and the environment.
Billions of animals around the world are affected by humans, and rely on people to treat them with compassion. But sadly, in many countries there is little national and no international protection for animals.
WSPA believes that an international agreement on welfare standards should become a key goal for the animal welfare movement in the 21st century. The first step toward achieving this end would be to secure a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the United Nations.
A Universal Declaration accepted by the UN would:
Why you should sign the petition
Reaching the goal of 10 million signatures worldwide will raise public and government awareness about animals and the importance of considering their welfare.
It will show governments that animals and their treatment matters to everyone. They need your voice! Governments and stakeholders need to take an interest in the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Petition reaches 1,971,275 signatures May 6, 2009
This November, a Private Member's motion in support of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) is scheduled to be debated for the second time in Canada's House of Commons. Sponsored by Michelle Simson (MP for Scarborough Southwest) and seconded by Bill Siksay (MP for Burnaby-Douglas), the motion had its first hour of debate on October 1st. It reads as follows:
‘That, in the opinion of the House, the government should support, in principle, the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at all relevant International organizations and forums.’
A UDAW would be a powerful catalyst for change — inspiring the creation of national laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals where they do not exist and encouraging all nations to look for ways to improve their laws and standards for the prevention of cruelty to, and proper care and treatment of animals.
November 6, 2009 Incredible news from Ottawa! The House of Commons passed Motion M-354 for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare with unanimous all-party support!
Comment: Part of Michelle Simson’s concluding remarks: .. the declaration is an agreement among people and nations to recognize that animals are sentient, suffer, have welfare needs, and to ultimately end animal cruelty worldwide. The declaration will be structured as a set of general principles that acknowledge and emphasize the importance of animal welfare. The purpose of these principles is to encourage all nations to put in place or enhance existing animal welfare laws in standards.
The declaration is supported by a growing list of governments from countries around the world including all 27 members of the European Union. There is also a great deal of support from the public. Thousands of Canadians have signed petitions in support of a UDAW. Many of these petitions have been introduced in the House of Commons. The declaration is actively supported by Canada's foremost animal protection organizations including the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
The implementation of the declaration is an important step and will act as a catalyst for change in the following ways: by raising the status of animal welfare as an international issue; by encouraging those in industries which utilize animals to keep their welfare at the forefront of their policies and practices; and by inspiring positive change in public attitudes and actions toward animals.
I am heartened by the tone of the debate that has transpired. The declaration will be a key toward improved animal welfare legislation worldwide and a step closer to ending cruelty to animals globally. This first step is only one of many in a long road, but it is a critical one, one we must take for this extremely important cause.
I urge all members to support the motion, so that Canada can join a growing list of countries on the world stage in support of animal welfare.
Please thank your local MP for supporting the UDAW. Now all we need is government action and new legislation to protect our valued animal friends. Write those letters! M-354 Thank you! (link no longer active)
Note: There is quite a history to the UDAW and how it developed to what we have today. Read Animal People's editorial: Compromise and the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
December 3, 2009 Europe has legally recognized animals as sentient beings according to the Lisbon Treaty, which went into effect December 1. Article 13 of the treaty states, “…the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals…”
January 20, 2010 A letter from Carmina Gooch to her MP and to Prime Minister Harper:
Dear Mr. Saxton,
The Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC was pleased to hear that in early November, 2009, MP Michelle Simson's Motion No. 354 in support of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare passed with all-party support.
The protection and welfare of animals is an important issue not only to Canadians, but to citizens all over the world. We sincerely hope that new and improved legislation will now be created to reflect the commitment the government has made to this matter.
Our animal cruelty laws are hopelessly outdated with the bill passed last year still maintaining animals as property under the Criminal Code of Canada, rather than as sentient beings with inherent worth. Animal abusers walk free; wildlife, stray, and feral animals are left unprotected from acts of violence/cruelty, and crimes of neglect and/or cruelty are very difficult to prosecute. Less than 1/4 of 1% of animal abuse complaints lead to successful convictions. We would like to see the introduction of a government bill based on C-229.
The Textile Labelling Act has gaping holes that allow for fur and fur-trim garments to enter our country, often coming from China. It is widely known that merchandise/fur from China is inaccurately labelled, misleading, and/or deceptive, despite the claims of "reputable" and “independent” manufacturers, suppliers or "testing agencies." The bottom line is that fur is imported from China because it's cheap. So is life. There are no labelling regulations in Canada regarding the import of fur or fur-trim clothing or products. It is not required that the type of fur, its origin, or even whether it's real or not be disclosed.
From a September 23, 2009 news article: The federal government won't ban imports of cat and dog fur because doing so might undermine Canada's support for the seal hunt, says a newly released document.
An internal memo shows government officials urged Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz not to follow the United States and Europe in barring cat and dog fur from entering the country.
Officials worried a ban would weaken Canada's argument against other countries closing their borders to its seal products. "A ban could have implications for the farmed fur industry in Canada and for Canada's position against the banning of Canadian seal products by other countries," the memo says. http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/ottawa_wont_ban_fur_imports_beca.htm
According to CFIA statistics for the years 2001-2005, republished by the BC SPCA, more than 600 million farm animals are transported to slaughter in Canada every year, including 580 million broiler chickens, 32 million egg-laying and breeding hens, 21 million pigs, 19 million turkeys and three million cattle.
Between two million and three million animals are found dead each year when trucks are unloaded. That represents an overall average mortality rate of 0.4 per cent for animals during transportation. http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/death_toll_staggering_for_animal.htm
Under Canada's Health of Animals Act, cattle, sheep, and goats may be transported 52 hours without water, food, or rest. For poultry, horses, and pigs it is 36 hours without water, food, or rest. The maximum time for all species in the U.S. is 28 hours. Animals suffer greatly during long-distance transport under deplorably inhumane conditions, with many dying before reaching the slaughterplant. Current regulations are sorely out of date and largely unenforced, leaving the animals used for food virtually unprotected. Proposed amendments from the fall of 2006 have yet to be brought into the full consultation process, which is totally unacceptable. There have been no changes since the mid-1990's! http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/auditor_general_asked_to_review.htm
As yet, a Code of Practice for food rabbits in Canada has not been developed, a matter that needs to be emended. In addition, the voluntary, recommended Codes of Practice, offer little or no "protection" to animals, leaving them wide open to abuse. With no enforcement the violators go unpunished. It makes no sense to have the industry police itself. http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/no_laws_to_protect_canadian_live.htm
Animals are regularly transported from farms in Canada to the USA, and rabbits hauled from Manitoba to California, for example, are not required to be rendered unconscious prior to bleeding/slaughter under antiquated US law. A regulation stopping animals from being transported to jurisdictions where they would not be handled and slaughtered in accordance with the Canadian Meat Inspection Regulations would prevent their inhumane slaughter. http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/auditor_general_asked_to_review.htm
Sadly, we hear cases of unimaginable cases of animal cruelty, suffering, and neglect in the news media daily. In November, 2009, we learned of Jalupae, a 27-year-old appaloosa gelding who was starved and hanged from an excavator. Two Brentwood Bay residents have had their case adjourned and it's widely anticipated that there won't be any justice of any significance for this poor horse.http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/campaigns_to_stop_animal_cruelty.htm
Just yesterday it was reported that a Dawson Creek couple received a paltry $700.00 fine for animal cruelty and put on two years probation. In 2008, BC SPCA officers seized 87 animals, including some exotics, from an assortment of over 200 creatures kept in deplorable conditions, most in an out-building with no ventilation and no water. A coatimundi was being kept in a dog crate and had chewed its own paws. This ruling clearly demonstrates the necessity for animals to be removed from the property designation and for existing legislation to be significantly strengthened to protect our vulnerable and voiceless creatures of society. http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/animal_suffering_cruelty_and_hoa.htm
The public has become increasingly incensed over crimes against animals, and with animal rights and law in the mainstream, I ask for your attention to this important matter.
Attachment: Canada Falls Behind
Friday, April 18, 2008 Canadians for Effective Animal Cruelty Legislation
In a new
report entitled "Falling Behind," the International Fund for Animal Welfare
compares animal cruelty legislation from 14 countries around the world. Canada,
unfortunately, places at the bottom of the list.
Updating the Criminal Code of Canada will provide the courts and police with clear, effective means to prosecute, convict and to potentially mitigate acts of unacceptable animal cruelty. It will also allow politicians to respond to the overwhelming majority of Canadians representing all political parties who are outraged by heinous acts of animal cruelty. Finally, modern and effective legislation to protect all animals will bring Canada up to standard on the global stage.
World Animal Protection Index: The Animal Protection Index establishes a classification of 50 countries around the world according to their commitments to protect animals and improve animal welfare in policy and legislation. Canada gets a "D." (2014)
For those of you using Facebook, get the latest news from UDARW - the Universal Declaration on Animal Rights and Welfare
March 10, 2020 Report from WAP: Canada receives failing grade for animal welfare laws
In their second edition of the Animal Protection Index, World Animal Protection assessed animal welfare policies in laws in 50 countries and found that animal protection laws need to get better. The index ranks the countries from A, which is the highest score, to G, the lowest, based on international animal welfare standards of best practices, according to Melissa Matlow the campaign director for World Animal Protection Canada.
2017: Green Party England Manifesto Putting an end to animal cruelty and exploitation