WATCH: How animal welfare figures into the pursuit of happiness

There are many reasons why the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rescues and protects animals around the globe.

Populations careen toward extinction, and individual animals that are exploited, abused or neglected suffer terribly. This makes many people upset or at least gravely concerned, but how animal well-being affects us directly is hard to measure.

There is a movement afoot, however, that makes a case for animal welfare from a unique perspective: scientific measurement of human happiness.

A number of groups, even entire cultures, have realized that relentless pursuit of economic growth is not making them happier.

In the Asian nation of Bhutan, gross national happiness is being used as an indicator of success instead of gross domestic product (which is a measure of all the goods bought and sold in a country), and several other nations have followed with their own happiness measures.

After all, as people pursue material wealth, it is often at the expense of our own well-being, environmental sustainability and the welfare of our fellow creatures.

Our Companion Animals program director Kate Nattrass Atema and US campaigns director Beth Allgood are leading a group at IFAW exploring how we can be more involved in this movement.

This past May they attended the North American Gross National Happiness Conference in Burlington, Vermont, titled “Happiness and Wellbeing: Building a National Movement.” They participated, led a workshop and Kate shared this unique talk on the value of animals to our happiness.

So does a pursuit of animal welfare make people happy?

Watch the video above, and see if you agree.

As Beth said in her blog before the Burlington conference,

“We believe this synergy between animal well-being and human happiness is one that should be explored more fully and the results taken forward to bring new supporters to the happiness and well-being movement and create policy change. In addition to helping drive the movement, IFAW’s leadership can ensure that our animal welfare ethic is included in this new way to measure success.”


This makes me happy.


For more information about IFAW's values, visit our Statement of Principles.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime