Farm industry

COP26 is the best chance to tackle the climate emergency

But without addressing animal welfare it will be a historic missed opportunity


Glasgow, 30 October - As the United Nations Climate Change Conference begins it needs to start by talking and tackling animal welfare and agriculture if it is to be a success, FOUR PAWS CEO Josef Pfabigan is urging world leaders to acknowledge dramatic facts.

Animal farming accounts for two thirds of all emissions from the agricultural sector, which is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases globally. Each year 88 billion animals are raised and then slaughtered for food consumption each year, intensive livestock farming is responsible for 14.5 to 16.5 per cent of the world’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, exceeding emission levels from global transport combined.

CEO of FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, Josef Pfabigan, stated that “it is now or never” for global leaders to come together to ensure the implementation of fundamental changes that are needed to confront the challenges of the climate emergency, with animal welfare and animal agriculture front and centre of the debate.

“COP26 is a historic opportunity to save our planet, but I cannot help but feel that this already looks like a missed opportunity as animal welfare is inexplicably not only not at the top of the agenda but has only just been added in as las­t-minute after thought. How can this be possible?

“We need immediate changes in the system at governmental and industry level so consumers can follow. There is no doubt that extensive meat production and consumption are main drivers for CO2 emissions.”

Mr. Pfabigan additionally expects legislators globally to enforce a ban on caged animals, ensure a sustainable way of farming, land-use and the way it is financed. “The plan must be harmonised, and it must be bold,” the FOUR PAWS CEO says.

“This may seem an insurmountable challenge, but we can, and we must change. It is now or never.”

COVID-19 just another dramatic wake-up-call to change system including animal welfare

Over the past 18 months the world has dramatically changed due to COVID-19 and the way humans, animals, and the environment are interlinked has never been so prominent in the public discourse.

In the run-up to the WHO summit in Berlin earlier this month FOUR PAWS launched a study into the Future of Pandemics with 29 scientific experts concluding that nothing less than a "paradigm shift" is needed in how we as a society treat animals if we are to prevent future pandemics.

“Animal welfare plays a crucial role for human survival and that of our ecological system. To prevent future pandemics, animal welfare must be tackled on the global political agenda, and there would be no better starting place than at COP26.”

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS

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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, 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.

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