Lady Freethinker (LFT) has signed onto a manifesto from World Animal Net urging global leaders to address the wellbeing of animals in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining more than 60 animal protection and environmental nonprofits around the world, LFT supports this call for governments, policymakers and institutions to reconsider how animals are treated in our food systems and economies following the zoonotic disease outbreak that likely stemmed from their exploitation.

“Lady Freethinker appreciates the importance of this effort, “said LFT President Nina Jackel.  “We encourage global leaders to implement the recommendations and policies in the manifesto to make the world a safer and more compassionate place for humans and animals.” 

LFT and many other animal welfare organizations have been pushing for change for years, and COVID-19 has served as a wake-up call for the world on how animals raised for food are mistreated. From the likely start of the disease in a live animal market in Wuhan, China, to the quick spread of the virus through slaughterhouses, it’s clear current practices need to be addressed.

“The COVID-19 crisis makes absolutely clear that to reduce the risk of future world-stopping pandemics, we must fundamentally reorient our relationship with animals from a relationship of exploitation to a relationship of mutuality,” the manifesto says.

The manifesto addresses recommendations in five areas vital to the health and wellbeing of animals, people and the environment: shifting dietary demand for animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins, transforming agricultural systems, reducing use and exploitation of wildlife, increasing vaccine development efficiencies, and ensuring the wellbeing of animals living in communities, including companion animals. It also sets forth key actions that specific global entities, such as the U.N. General Assembly and G20, can take to prevent future pandemics.

World Animal Net released the manifesto just in time for World Animal Day on Oct. 4 and will be sharing the recommendations with leaders, nonprofit organizations, and governing bodies around the world.