IFAW’s new report advocates measuring happiness and wellbeing, not just economic growth

IFAW’s new report advocates measuring happiness and wellbeing, not just economic
Wednesday, 14 December, 2016
Cancun, Mexico

A nation’s prosperity should not be measured by economic activity alone, but rather by a more expansive measure assessing economic, social and environmental wellbeing, according to a new report from IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare).“Measuring What Matters: True Wellbeing for Animals and People,” is being released at the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Cancun, Mexico this week.

Using Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness” as a framework, the 36-page report looks at human wellbeing from nine dimensions: psychological wellbeing, time use, community vitality, cultural diversity, ecological resilience, living standard, health, education and good governance.

“Measuring success solely through the lens of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ultimately does not support animals or people,” said Beth Allgood, IFAW US Country Director and one of the report’s co-authors. “People benefit when we conserve and protect wildlife and treat companion and agricultural animals humanely. Understanding this, we can now bring animal welfare and conservation into social, environmental and economic policies.”

In the report, case studies provide real life success stories highlighting alternatives to short term economic growth including Dr. Jane Goodall’s community conservation work that grew from chimpanzee research in Tanzania, elephant fences and fish farms in Malawi, whale shark protection in Gujarat, India and rhino repopulation in Manas National Park.

“Growth is important, but only if we focus on measuring and growing what really matters – the wellbeing of people, animals and the planet,” said Allgood. “We must respect and protect the ecological integrity of nature and be guided by ecological and biological sustainability, the ethical treatment of animals and the precautionary principle.”

International agreements are beginning to recognize the importance of these alternative measures, including CBD, which recognizes the intrinsic value of animals and has set a long term goal of a world where biodiversity is, “valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.”

About International Fund for Animal Welfare

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw

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