International Day of Happiness, on March 20, opens the conversation to discuss alternative ways of looking at human happiness. For example, can effective animal welfare and wildlife conservation truly increase an individual’s experience of joy?
Using Bhutan’s measure of Gross National Happiness as a benchmark, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) created a report, Measuring What Matters: True Wellbeing for Animals and People to challenge established assumptions that the success and health of a nation depends on consistently increasing its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“While writing the report, we found a growing body of research about the ties between animal welfare and human health and happiness. It’s difficult to quantify these intangible elements, but it’s clear they are indeed connected,” said Beth Allgood, IFAW US Country Director and co-author of the report.
The 36-page report highlights case studies on 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.
“I believe we are in an extinction crisis because we think we must increase GDP at the expenses of animals and the planet and our own wellbeing when GDP is actually simply a measure of short-term economic activity – nothing more,” said Allgood.
About IFAW (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 social @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.