Beyond species conservation, there is a growing need to address the protection of individual animals in international law. Species conservation is currently addressed in broadly adopted conventions (such as the IWC, CMS, CITES and CBD*), but there is still a big gap in international law regarding the protection of individual animals. Instead of just protecting wild animal species against extinction (in those big international environmental law instruments), the international community should consider more seriously the need in positive international law (as a step towards a more complete and global corpus of international animal law) to protect individual animals against suffering.
A ‘modern win’ for the international community would therefore be the adoption of a convention on global animal protection to address both issues (individual animal welfare and animal species extinction). Such a convention may be based on the actual provisions aiming to preserve animal species as well as the standards for animal welfare from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
. But as a new instrument, such a convention should expand the actual basis of animal protection. It should take into account recent developments in animal science, ethics and law at international level.
*Acronyms: IWC (International Whaling Convention), CMS (Convention on Migratory Species), CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity).