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New Zealand to support UDAW

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education
30 September 2008 Media Statement

New Zealand to support UDAW

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton today announced the Government's support for the notion of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

The proposed Declaration is being developed for eventual consideration and adoption by the United Nations. It aims to achieve global consideration of the welfare of sentient animals and recognition of animal welfare as an issue of importance as part of the social development of nations worldwide.

If adopted, signatories of the eventual Declaration would not be legally bound by it. However, they would be encouraged to respect its principles in formulating and implementing policies concerning animals.

Jim Anderton said that, as a world leader in agricultural production and exports, New Zealand supported the underlying objective of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare to promote improvements in animal welfare globally.

"New Zealand considers that the objectives of the Declaration are well aligned with our current animal welfare legislation, as well as with our philosophy on the issue of animal welfare.

"We look forward to considering a final version of the Declaration text, once that is available, in order to reach a formal position."

The Declaration text has not yet been finalised and will be developed further over the next few years. New Zealand's statement of notional support will ensure that it has the opportunity to participate in that process.

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the New Zealand Veterinary Association support the proposed Declaration.

The Declaration proposal, developed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and a coalition of non-governmental animal welfare organisations, is being led by a five-nation steering group, comprising Costa Rica, Kenya, the Czech Republic, India and the Philippines. WSPA is seeking the support of governments worldwide for the proposal. A number of other governments have already confirmed their support.

Approximately 28,000 signatures from New Zealand, out of a worldwide total of 1,630,000, have been collected to date on an electronic petition ('Animals Matter to Me'), being run by WSPA to support the proposed Declaration. WSPA's goal is to collect 10 million signatures, worldwide, in support of the proposal.

Further information on the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare can be found at


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