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July 21, 2016

Final draft of World Bank’s Safeguard Policies to protect farm animals

Humane Society International welcomes the reference to meaningful animal protection standards

Humane Society International

  • James Goldsworthy/istock

The final draft of the World Bank Group’s Safeguard Policies, which are intended to set the standard for sustainability and social responsibility globally, now include a reference to meaningful animal welfare standards that would prohibit some of the most abusive practices in animal agriculture, including the cruel confinement of animals in battery cages and gestation crates on large-scale facilities. These standards apply to projects financed by the World Bank, as well as those supported by other development banks and institutions that follow the Safeguard Polices. Humane Society International’s director of farm animals, Chetana Mirle, issued the following statement:

“We welcome the inclusion of animal welfare within the final draft of the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies, specifically the reference to the International Finance Corporation’s Good Practice Note on Animal Welfare. The incorporation of animal welfare in the lending policies of a global financial institution like the World Bank demonstrates that animal welfare makes good business sense. The IFC’s Good Practice Note states that adopting higher animal welfare standards can result in reduced costs, increased productivity and competitive advantages. Food companies and consumers, including in developing economies, are increasingly demanding more humanely produced products. While the Safeguard Policies’ animal welfare requirements only apply to large-scale farmers, we hope the World Bank and other development organizations will also help small-scale farmers adopt and benefit from higher animal welfare standards.”

Become a Farm Animal Defender.

The document is scheduled for consideration by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on August 4, 2016.


  • Around the world, an overwhelming number of egg-laying hens, pregnant sows and other animals are raised in intensively confining cages and crates. These production systems severely impair 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.
  • Support from financial institutions can help egg, meat and milk producers meet the growing animal welfare demands of national and global markets.
  • Last year, more than 110,000 HSI supporters signed a petition calling on the World Bank Group to include meaningful animal welfare standards in its Safeguards Policies.

Media contact: Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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