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World Bank Includes Animal Welfare In Draft Safeguard Policies

THE World Bank Group’s safeguard policies, which are intended to set the standard for sustainability and social responsibility globally, acknowledge animal welfare in its latest draft, but fail to include enforceable animal welfare standards. Humane Society International’s director of farm animals, Chetana  Mirle, said “We welcome the inclusion of animal welfare within the latest draft of the World Bank Group’s safeguard policies. However, the discussion on animal welfare must be linked to meaningful standards, or the World Bank risks missing a crucial opportunity to mitigate the extreme confinement and other routine abuses suffered by billions of animals raised for food, and to help farmers and other food industry stakeholders in developing and emerging economies meet the demands of domestic and international markets. Humane Society International and our partners will continue to work with the World Bank to strengthen the safeguard policies by explicitly referencing standards, such as the IFC’s Good Practice Note on Animal Welfare and the Five Freedoms of Farm Animal Welfare that prohibit the confinement of animals in battery cages and gestation crates. Further, these standards should be obligatory for all farm animal projects receiving World Bank funding, irrespective of the size of operation.”

Some Facts:

  • India is the third largest producer of eggs in the world. Currently, at least 70 percent of its eggs come from commercial farmers who confine their hens to barren battery cages so small that each bird has less space than an A4 size sheet of paper in which to spend her entire life.
  • HSI/India has successfully persuaded the majority of Indian states (24 out  of 29)—including the top egg-producing states—to declare that confining hens to battery cages violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.
  • Support from financial institutions can help Indian egg producers meet the requirements of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 by moving to higher welfare housing systems.