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August 5, 2015

World Bank Includes Animal Welfare in Draft Safeguard Policies

Humane Society International welcomes mention of animal welfare but urges more meaningful animal protection standards

Humane Society International

  • Bradley Murray/istock

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, issued the following statement:

“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.”


  • Around the world, an overwhelming number of egg-laying hens, pregnant sows and other animals are raised in cages and crates. The intensive confinement of these production systems severely impairs the animals’ welfare, as they are unable to exercise, fully extend their limbs or engage in many important natural behaviors. As a result of the severe restriction within these barren housing systems, animals can experience significant and prolonged physical and psychological assaults.
  • A growing number of consumers and food retailers around the world, including in developing and emerging economies, are demanding higher animal welfare standards.
  • Support from financial institutions can help egg, meat, and milk producers meet the growing animal welfare demands of national and global markets. 
  • The latest draft of the safeguard policies, released yesterday, is currently undergoing a third round of review.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org 

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