The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) is a proposed inter-governmental agreement to recognise that animals are sentient, to prevent cruelty and reduce suffering, and to promote standards on the welfare of animals such as farm animals, companion animals, animals in scientific research, draught animals, wildlife animals and animals in recreation.
It is proposed that a UDAW be adopted by the United Nations. If endorsed by the UN (as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was) the UDAW would be a non-binding set of principles that acknowledges the importance of the sentience of animals and human responsibilities towards them. The principles were designed to encourage and enable national governments to introduce and improve animal protection legislation and initiatives.
In April 2008, Eric Martlew MP put forward an early day motion in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom that “calls upon the Government to give its full and publicly-stated support for this initiative, including active support within the European Union and the United Nations.”
In 2011 a new draft was proposed, taking into account “feedback from UN Member states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. It develops the earlier draft arising from the Manila conference on animal welfare (2003) and the Costa Rica draft (2005) which incorporated suggestions made by the Steering Committee.”