SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

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OBJECTIVE:
Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically, despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.

However, as the global economy continues to recover we are seeing slower growth, widening inequalities, and not enough jobs to keep up with a growing labour force. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.

HOW ANIMAL EXPLOITATION UNDERMINES THIS GOAL

Too many are employed in unsustainable jobs associated with the industries involved in animal exploitation, and it is low paying, physically and mentally high-risk work, not only in the livestock industry (growing feed crops, slaughter, animal husbandry or animal product processing), but in other areas of animal exploitation, as with animals in tourism, animal labor, and animals in entertainment. Given the violence, exploitation and abuse of animals and advantages taken of vulnerable workers involved in these industries, the word “decent” arguably does not even apply to such work.

Consider also that, instead of supporting individual economic progress, the use of animals for labor holds both the animals and the people engulfed in poverty, since those animals incur costs for the same basic needs as the humans. Then there are the many economic drawbacks associated with illegal animal trade (not only poaching of wild animals but also illegal domestic animal fighting rings) resulting in violence and other crimes, accompanied by gambling and drug abuse.

The COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus the economic costs of zoonotic diseases that are prone to occur in the unclean circumstances of factory farms, other mass animal breeding industries, and live markets. Yet even with necessary measures to prevent the spread there is a heavy load on health services. We know zoonotic pandemics will likely continue to occur, which as seen throughout the last year can cause economic activity to be paralyzed on a global scale.

Separately, the subsidies that are provided to animal agriculture undermine the efficiency of markets since market supply and demand dynamics are disrupted in favor of industries who, without such subsidies, would go out of business due to costs and decrease in demand as educated consumers come to realize the extent of those costs. This acts against the producers of more sustainable and clean alternatives, who are placed at a competitive disadvantage through a lack of subsidies.

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Further Reading:

Goal 8 : Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (United Nations website)

“FACTORY FARM WORKERS” – Factory farm workers are consistently exposed to a variety of harmful gases and particulate matter and also suffer from repetitive stress injuries. Driven by rigid contracts set forth by their corporate partners, factory farms knowingly jeopardize workers’ health in order to maximize profits. – https://foodispower.org

“Unprotected and alone” – What happened to West is a familiar story across 13 states, where contract chicken farmers have found it largely futile to seek redress for industry practices they say have cost them hard-earned pay and imperiled their farms. By Kate Shatzkin and Dan Fesperman
Baltimore Sun Staff / March 2, 1999 – https://www.baltimoresun.com/business

“Seven charged in 67-count indictment for animal-fighting operation dismantled in Dodge County” – “Contests of animal cruelty not only are illegal, but also are cesspools of associated criminal activity including gambling, drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – https://www.justice.gov

“Study Links Industrial Pig Farming and Virus Outbreaks” – In recent months, meatpacking companies in different parts of the world have been associated with large clusters of COVID-19 infections. 12/10/2020 By SIBÉLIA ZANON – https://science.thewire.in/health

“Animal Agriculture Subsidies Threaten Our Planet” – Animals as food systems receive tremendous food subsidies. But what about fruit and vegetable growers? Why don’t these farmers get the subsidies they need? By Carolyn Fortuna, Published December 19, 2016 – https://cleantechnica.com

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