CAMPAIGN FOR A U.N. SUSTAINABLE GOAL 18
The 17 existing UN SDGs are well presented in the below chart, which emphasizes the importance of the four “existential goals” – Life Below Water, Life on Land, Clean Water and Sanitation and Climate Action – all of which are undermined by the practice of animal exploitation, through its climate, waste and water impacts, as well as the direct impact of removing animals from the wild and destroying habitat.
Currently the UN SDG’s are almost wholly human-centric and the only nods to animals are number 15 – Life on Land and number 14 – Life Below Water.
It may be noted that no Goal specifically addresses domesticated and other exploited animals, despite these animals being well over 50% of the global zoomass.
It is the contention of Beyond Cruelty that this lack of consideration of the negative impact of animal exploitation makes it impossible to achieve a large majority of the Goals.
Disturbingly, SDG14 – Life Below Water talks about conservation but continues to promote fishing as a sustainable activity. It is already an indisputable fact from scientific studies that there is a dramatic amount of overfishing, with many times more animals caught and discarded as bycatch than are ever eaten. It ignores also the environmental impact of fishing equipment discarded in the ocean. There is also no mention of animal agriculture being the no. 1 cause of ocean dead zones and water pollution.
Shockingly, SDG15 – Life On Land discusses deforestation and restoration of habitat, but makes no mention of the no. 1 cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss and habitat destruction, which is, again, animal agriculture. A reduction in the amount of land that is used to feed animals raised as food is essential to prevent further deforestation and permit restoration of habitat. Within this, the dreadful loss of biodiversity and species extinction as highlighted by the World Wildlife Fund, among others, will only continue.
Generally, none of the SDG’s, from the Responsible Consumption and Production to Climate Action, to Zero Hunger, to Clean Water and Sanitation, make any mention whatsoever of the 70 billion land animals and possibly 1 trillion marine animals killed every year for the purpose of human consumption, nor do they mention the inefficiency of resource use, the greenhouse gases, the freshwater utilisation and waste generation, or any of the other highly damaging aspects of animal agriculture, nor do they suggest that humans should in any way combat the inexorable growth in animal exploitation.
This is a huge omission, and for this reason, Beyond Cruelty is proposing the addition of SDG 18 – Zero Animal Exploitation, to accelerate the transition to a compassionate world, one that is cleaner, kinder and healthier for all.
A manifesto for zero animal exploitation has been prepared by Beyond Cruelty Foundation, which describes the wide range of activities in which animals are exploited by humans.
On the Beyond Cruelty website, links representing each of the UN SDGs direct the user to a page that demonstrates how human exploitation of animals undermines the achievement of each of the Goals, by presenting published material demonstrating its negative impact.
In furtherance of this Campaign, Beyond Cruelty has created the hashtags #missingSDG #SDG18 #zeroanimalexploitation to be posted with the handles @UN and @UNEP to bring UN attention to this and ensure that the campaign can be tracked and highlighted on social media.
In addition, Claire Smith, the President and Founder of Beyond Cruelty Foundation, has designed and registered the tile below to add to the existing collection of tiles that represent the UN SDGs.
The chicken was selected as it is the land animal that suffers the most in terms of quantity of individuals harmed, accounting for well over ¾ of all animals that are abused and killed on land.
Beyond Cruelty Foundation will work with all animal charities and activists to encourage them to endorse and support this Campaign. Together it is hoped that the combined force of the global charities for animals, wildlife and conservation will persuade the members of the UN that this Goal of Zero Animal Exploitation should be added as number 18 in the series of Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations.
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Beyond Cruelty Foundation seeks funds:
- to organize this campaign
- to prepare materials to be placed on its website
- to act as a resource for other animal and environmental charities who may wish to join this campaign
- to conduct outreach to other charities