World Animal Protection and Partners want governments in the continent and the Africa Climate Summit 2023 to acknowledge the climate and environmental impact of unsustainable livestock production systems.

At a pre-climate week media briefing held on Thursday, the animal welfare advocates noted that factory farming is overlooked as the climate culprit within the agriculture sector, yet it’s this farming that rips down forests to plant crops for animal feed – releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

Officials during the World Animal Protection breakfast in Nairobi. Photo (courtesy).
Officials during the World Animal Protection breakfast in Nairobi. Photo (courtesy).

The lobby noted that it is factory farming that devastates wildlife habitats, displaces local communities and profits from the cruel treatment of billions of farmed animals each year.

“There is a nexus between animal agriculture and climate change, and this discussion should not be overlooked during climate discussions. Next week, the whole of Africa will be convening in Nairobi to seek solutions to the climate crisis,” said Tennyson Williams, Director for Africa at World Animal Protection.

“We ask them to endorse sustainable livestock farming practices, embrace African traditional food systems, and prioritise local communities’ needs as part of sustainable practices that can guarantee a safer future.”

Speaking at the media briefing, Huyian Ahmend Salih, the director for AU – IBAR noted that large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation and fragmentation, agriculture intensification, dilapidating livestock production and trade in animal species and plants are drivers of biodiversity loss and emergence of new diseases.

She called for strong interlinkage between animal welfare, environment and socio-economic development and emphasised the need to place Animal Welfare at the centre stage of the Global Environment Agenda and Sustainable Development.

While receiving the communique, Ismael Faheny, Advisor for Water and Environmental Management at the office of the President commended World Animal Protection and its partners for promoting sustainable livestock production systems to mitigate against climate change.

“It has been proven beyond doubt that sustainable and regenerative agriculture measures, designed to put farmers at the centre can improve livestock yields and turn farmland and pastures into carbon sinks, reverse forest loss, optimise the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers, and rethink global and local supply chains to be more sustainable,” He concluded.

Kenya shall be co-hosting the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) with the Africa Union Commission in Nairobi from 4 – 6 September 2023. This Summit will provide a platform to deliberate on the nexus of climate change, Africa’s development reality, and the need to push for increased investment in climate action globally and specifically in Africa.