Skip navigation

Animal welfare and sustainable development

Animal welfare inherently intersects with many other issues our planet faces: public health, climate change, biodiversity and more. An SEI team explores these relationships and how animal well-being can be incorporated into sustainable development planning.

A pair of giraffes stand together in a meadow at a Kenyan natural preserve.

Photo: James Warwick / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Active project


Animal welfare matters for sustainable development; and sustainable development matters for animals.

First, animal welfare is an important goal in its own right. Many ethicists, cultures and religions recognize that all sentient beings matter morally, while scientific understanding is growing of many animals’ ability to experience positive and negative states.

Second, our current treatment of animals impacts our own ability to achieve sustainable development. Industrial livestock farming and fishing, for instance, threatens Sustainable Development Goals related to climate change, biodiversity and health.

Third, our sustainable development interventions matter for animals: Interventions to promote climate action or prevent biodiversity loss might inadvertently affect the well-being of animals if we do not take animal welfare into consideration when designing such interventions.

Through work with partners, SEI is helping to shed light on the interlinkages between sustainable development and animal welfare; identify policy pathways to help mainstream animal welfare in sustainable development policy; and close remaining research gaps.

Cleo Verkuijl
Cleo Verkuijl



Jonathan Green profile picture
Jonathan Green

Senior Researcher

SEI York

Ploy Achakulwisut

Research Fellow


Mairon G. Bastos Lima
Mairon G. Bastos Lima

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Design and development by Soapbox.