News Release

World Society for the Protection of Animals London, United Kingdom

28 May 2009

APIA, Samoa - The world’s largest federation of animal welfare organisations has commended the Government of Samoa on its decision to endorse the development of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).

"The Samoan Government’s support for this animal welfare initiative has reinforced its commitment to improving the lives of animals, and has acknowledged the relevance that animal welfare has to all regions of the world," said Emily Reeves, Programs Manager with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

The proposed Declaration would recognise the important role animal health and welfare plays in ensuring human health and safety, poverty and hunger reduction, disaster management and environmental sustainability.

"The Government of Samoa’s endorsement of the UDAW is proof that we take animal welfare seriously and are willing to take steps to improve the situation in our country, as well as support efforts in our Pacific region to do the same," said the Hon Taua Seula, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

A growing number of governments, as well as intergovernmental organisations such as the International Finance Corporation and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), are recognising the contribution of animal welfare to economics and to poverty and hunger reduction.

"It is anticipated that as the government works towards improving the animal welfare situation in Samoa, that our people will be better informed in and be willing to adopt and maintain responsible, humane and sustainable practices with regard to the treatment and keeping of animals," said Minister Seula.

"Our support of WSPA and the UDAW will ensure that legislation and policies regarding animal welfare will be formulated more easily and approved more readily," he said.

Millions of people around the world rely on animals for their livelihoods and for sustenance. Improving animal welfare is an important tool in achieving the United Nation’s development goals of poverty and hunger reduction, improved human health, and environmental sustainability.

Samoa joins countries such as Australia, Cambodia, all 27 EU member states, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, Seychelles and Switzerland who have expressed support for the initiative.

A Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare will be a set of guiding and non-binding principles on animal welfare, designed to assist governments developing legislation, codes and best practices for the humane care and management of animals.

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