International treaty on animal welfare


Animal welfare is emerging as a growing concern for the international community. A legally-binding treaty on animal welfare would allow the existing gap in international law to be filled. It could also set up clear and stringent provisions regarding the treatment of animals of the ‘Big 5’ (animals used in production, experiments, entertainment, wild animals and companion animals).

Key concepts such as the "dignity" and "inherent value" of animals that are to be respected by humans (as already recognized principles, respectively in Swiss and Dutch legislation on animals), would also help form the theoretical legal basis of such an international treaty.

In order to provide incentives for its implementation, financial penalties could apply for countries that fail to implement it (as in the current WTO and EU systems at supranational level). It could also positively provide for subventions to promote an international label for animal-friendly products. Such a label would be accepted by the WTO. This could be possible in the future because the WTO has already recognized that animal welfare constitutes an important and have a legitimate interest to protect, particularly in the context of international trade (in WTO, European Communities - Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products, WT/DS400/R-WT/DS401/R, Reports of the Panel, 25 November 2013, §7.632 & §7.505).



- AWLD database at International level
- Article: FAVRE, D. S., "An international Treaty for Animal Welfare", Animal Law review, Vol. 18, Issue 2, Spring 2012 , at 237-280.



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Item information:

Level: International
Goal: Adoption
Item: Adoption of international legislation on individual animals

Contribution made by
SB - 07.07.2014

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