Companion animals, farm animals, working animals and wildlife have a profound impact on the lives of everyone on earth. For billions of people around the world, animals are essential to their livelihood. By working with the people who rely on their animals, WPSA provides welfare intervention and support that is both practical and long-lasting.
The livestock sector employs around 1.3 billion people. Additionally, a billion of the world's poorest people depend on animals for food, income, transport, social status, and security. In developing countries the loss or incapacity of an animal can mean poverty. A well cared for and healthy horse or donkey means that goods get to market and that there is a steady income for carriage drivers. WSPA works to provide owners with the equipment and training they need to care for their animals. WSPA also works to increase access to veterinary services through our mobile clinics.
Learn more about WSPA's projects for working animals or watch WSPA's Director General Mike Baker's address at the United Nations on animal welfare and sustainable development:
Better animal welfare on the farm can also support more sustainable food production, less impact on the environment and a reduced risk of diseases and bacteria (like Salmonella) ending up in the food produced.
WSPA works to promote humane livestock and pasture-based systems as they often require less grain, fuel and water resources. They also keep the number of livestock on a farm low enough to reduce the risk of major pollution and disease spread. For example on cage-free egg farms, when smaller flocks of hens forage outdoors, the manure can be absorbed into the ground acting as fertilizer. When tens of thousands of hens are kept on one farm, the huge amount of manure produced must be transported and stored at a steep environmental cost. Also, recent research indicates that caged hen operations have an increased risk of Salmonella infection.
WSPA is working hard to convince governments, farmers and consumers that humane and sustainable farming is better for animals, people and the environment. At the upcoming Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (a major global conference on the environment and sustainable development) WSPA is working to ensure that animal welfare is firmly on the agenda. WSPA is asking delegates to recognize the importance of livestock in economic development and the role farm animals play in helping to lift people out of poverty and build sustainable livelihoods in developing countries. Learn more and read WSPA's submission>>
In developing countries, rabies can be fatal for animals and humans alike. Local governments frequently resort to randomly culling animals (mostly dogs) by poisoning, electrocuting or shooting them. These methods are inhumane, causing the animals great pain and suffering. They are also ineffective in the long term as they do not address the root cause of the problem.
Killing dogs in response to rabies has never been shown to eliminate the disease. But rabies is completely preventable. There is a scientifically-proven, humane and sustainable alternative to fear and cruelty – it's vaccination. WSPA's Collars Not Cruelty Campaign is a global initiative to establish dog vaccination programs in countries where dogs are killed in response to rabies.
WSPA’s approach to rabies control has already proven successful in many countries. The organization most recently carried out a mass vaccination project in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where it immunized more than 70 percent of the dog population; each dog was given a red collar to show local community members it was vaccinated. The project mirrored another successful WSPA-funded project in Bali, where 210,000 dogs were vaccinated and – as a result – cases of rabies in dogs and humans dramatically decreased.
The health and welfare of animals and people experiencing disasters are inextricably linked. In times of disaster many people refuse to evacuate without their animals; or they risk returning to dangerous disaster zones in order to care for them. WSPA actively works with governments and local partners to respond to emergencies, and to reduce the risk of future disasters for animals and the communities that depend on them. We work co-operatively with humanitarian aid agencies and never compromise their ability to assist people affected by disaster.
Protecting livestock to rebuild lives
Some of the world's poorest and most disaster-vulnerable communities are also those who are most reliant on livestock, poultry and working animals for survival. To neglect to prepare and respond to the health and welfare needs of these animals in disasters is to also neglect the health, welfare and livelihoods of the people who depend on them for food, transport and income.
The loss of livestock and working animals in disasters can result in their owners and the local community suffering malnutrition and food insecurity, debt, dependency and despair. WSPA's work to provide for the health and welfare of animals in disasters benefits both the animals themselves and the communities who depend upon them.
Companion animals are a source of comfort
Where pets are caught up in a disaster, their owners will often try to rescue them. Those that are forced to abandon their pets have been shown to have an increased risk of post-traumatic stress as a result. WSPA's work to rescue, shelter, feed and treat companion animals, and hopefully reunite them with their owners (or re-home them if needed) benefits both the animals and their owners.
Learn the steps to creating a disaster preparedness plan that includes your animals or watch WSPA's helpful video: