UN Environment Assembly Adopts Historic Resolution on Animal Welfare

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) just unanimously adopted its first resolution on animal welfare! This historic move means world leaders recognize that good animal welfare benefits human health, our environment, and sustainable development.


Leah Garcés, president of Mercy For Animals, shared the news from Nairobi, Kenya, where she was attending UNEA meetings and supporting this resolution. The meetings are hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is mandated by the international community to address issues including climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and sustainable development. This event brought together representatives from 193 countries (also known as member states of the United Nations) to discuss global solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems.

The United Nations has largely ignored the critical links between animal welfare and other issues, but this new resolution addresses them by calling on UNEP’s executive director to prepare a report exploring animal welfare’s connections to the environment and sustainable development. Additionally, the resolution calls for UNEP to work in partnership with other international organizations on issues where animal welfare relates to human health and the environment. Leah Garcés stated:

Finally animal welfare will have a home in the United Nations, and the nations of the world have agreed that animal welfare is an issue of importance.

In January, Mercy For Animals and 11 other organizations united in submitting a letter to the U.S. Department of State requesting support for the resolution. AJ Albrecht, Mercy For Animals’ director of government affairs, stated:

Mercy For Animals is proud to support this resolution, which offers the global community an opportunity to make significant improvements in animal welfare that will also help address the environmental degradation caused by industrial animal agriculture.

Ghana proposed the resolution, with Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Senegal, and South Sudan joining as co-sponsors. While it needed only a simple majority of UNEA’s 193 member states, it passed unanimously. This resolution will put major global institutions on notice to the worsening effects of factory farming, including climate change and food and water insecurity.

Excited? Send a tweet to the UN Environment Programme letting them know how happy you are about the United Nations’ first animal welfare resolution!

Want to do more? One of the best ways we can protect the environment is by leaving animals off our plates. Download our free veg starter guide to learn how.