4th October 2022 – Today World Animal Day is celebrating its 97th anniversary, with the timely theme of a “shared planet” between humans and animals. FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation with an office in Sydney, is using this global day of action to call for international institutions and national governments to address systemic animal welfare abuses which are intrinsically linked to zoonotic diseases, for their sake and for ours.
Resetting our system for a better tomorrow
As three-fourths of emerging human infectious diseases come from animals, the world’s leading scientists and experts have shown the link between animal welfare and increasing pandemic risk.
This World Animal Day, FOUR PAWS is calling on international institutions and national governments to tackle the root causes of zoonotic disease emergence in a “One Health” approach, recognising animal welfare as a major aspect in the prevention of pandemics.
"The world needs a reset of our relationship with animals. Animals suffer horrendously within our current systems, they suffer physically and psychologically as par for the course, to support our current way of life. This has to change, not only because they deserve better, but to protect ourselves and the planet.
We need to change to a “One Health” approach. Fundamental shifts in our animal production and consumption patterns are needed, from bringing an end to factory farming to banning high-risk practices such as dog and cat meat trade and ending commercial wildlife trade and fur farming.”
Rebecca Linigen, National Director, FOUR PAWS Australia
When animals suffer and endure cruelty, their immune systems are weakened, creating the perfect conditions for diseases to spread between animals.
This is especially the case in factory farming systems, where animal breeding lacks genetic diversity and animals are kept in appalling living and slaughter conditions, and live animal markets where multiple species are crammed together.
Such factors dramatically increase the risk of the spread of diseases. And when we add humans to the mix, this can have deadly consequences as some pathogens develop the ability to jump into other species – just as we saw with COVID-19.
“By recognising that human and animal welfare are intrinsically connected and embracing the One Health Framework across a wide range of policies, we can help prevent the next pandemic,” said Linigen.
Dr Martina Stephany, FOUR PAWS Director on Farm Animals and Nutrition, spoke of climate change as the other major looming threat to animal welfare.
“The climate crisis is the other great global challenge that we are currently facing. Every year, sea levels rise, natural disasters like floods increase, rivers dry up and summers get hotter. Wild animal species are dying at a rate that is at its all-time high.
One of the biggest contributors to these issues is large scale industrial animal agriculture. These large-scale systems emit high levels of greenhouse gases. Animal agriculture is not only one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis, but the farming sector is also amongst the sectors most threatened by the consequences of the rise in global temperatures negatively impacting animal health and welfare and natural disasters are increasing.
A 2019 UN report on biodiversity found that current human actions were negatively impacting nature, now more than at any other time in human history, with extinction looming for more than one million species of plants and animals. Today, the federal government added 15 new animal and plant species to the endangered list, citing impacts due to human activity and the Black Summer bushfires.
“Humans represent 0.01% of all life on earth, yet we control the other 99.99 percent's destiny. Their home is our home, we have a shared existence and environment. If we risk not addressing the issues that face us now, we face catastrophic consequences in the very near future.”
World Animal Day has been celebrated on 4 October for over 90 years, reaching 39 million people around the globe with #WorldAnimalDay trending in 56 Countries. Events will take place across the globe giving millions of people the chance to recognise the part animals play in our lives, cultures, and environment.
Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.
The World Health Organisation “One Health” definition developed by the OHHLEP states: “One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent.”
Wuhan COVID-19 Scientific Studies:
FOUR PAWS asks for:
- End factory farming
FOUR PAWS wants to see an overall reduction in the number of animals we farm, especially in the Global North, where our consumption levels are above what is recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Fewer animals farmed and with less intensive methods can improve animal welfare as it lowers stocking densities and allows for natural behaviours. This can help support the transition to sustainable extensive, outdoor farming. This can also help maintain permanent grasslands, which helps store carbon rather than releasing it.
Governments should set national targets for sustainable production and sustainable consumption levels in line with planetary boundaries. To do this they will need to overhaul harmful subsidies that perpetuate factory farming into support for farming systems that prioritise animal and environmental protection over productivity.
- Meat reduction
By shifting to a plant-rich diet we can spare animals from unnecessary suffering, especially as there are now many exciting new alternatives on the market; protect the climate; better feed a growing population and conserve precious natural resources.
FOUR PAWS wants to see a reduction of all animal protein consumption and production by 50 percent by 2040 and encourage people to follow the 3R-approach – reduce (animal products) refine (better welfare products) replace (plant-based alternatives).
Governments can support this change by getting rid of technical and financial barriers for plant-based products for businesses and consumers and making them a mandatory part of all public procurement policies.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au