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TRADE & ANIMAL WELFARE

#Trade_AW

BILLIONS OF ANIMALS AND THEIR PRODUCTS ARE TRADED ACROSS THE GLOBE EACH YEAR WITHOUT ADEQUATE WELFARE PROTECTION. IT IS PAST TIME THAT ANIMAL WELFARE WAS GIVEN PROPER ATTENTION IN EU TRADE POLICY-MAKING.

Horrific live export conditions; proliferation of intensive factory farming methods; exports of chlorine-washed chicken; European demand for cruelly harvested horse blood products; hormone treated beef in the EU; illegal trade in wildlife products; rising demand for improperly sourced donkey skin products.

The common thread that links all of these problems is that they cannot be tackled by focusing on domestic European policy alone. Trade policy must take those situations into account and be effective at protecting animal welfare in order for progress to be made in these fields.

The Trade and Animal Welfare Project is made possible by Deutscher TierschutzbundVIER PFOTENCompassion in World FarmingFondation Brigitte Bardot, and the RSPCA.

The project seeks to ensure that animal welfare is included within multilateral and bilateral trade agreements by taking a holistic, long-term and strategic approach. Our aim is that current EU animal welfare standards are maintained and standards in third countries improved.

                                                             

RATIONALE

In the last decade, the trade between the EU and non-EU countries in animal products has almost doubled. The proliferation of free trade agreements in recent years has also caused production derived from animals to intensify. Further, a growing portion of animals and animal products consumed in Europe originates in third countries. In 2015, 202 tonnes (€1.81 billion) of bovine meat were imported from third countries into the continent. This is not a one-way street; the EU also exports significant amounts of animal products: as an example, 1.74 million tonnes (€4 billion) of swine meat were exported from the EU to third states in 2015.

This trade is often detrimental to animal welfare because most international trade agreements neglect animal welfare issues including husbandry, feeding and slaughter methods. This affects farm animals as well as wildlife and research animals. Liberalising trade without safeguarding animal welfare causes three related problems:

  1. Providing more market access to poor welfare products means that more animals will suffer as production will continue and, most likely, increase to meet the demand from Europe.

  2. Imports of low welfare products will negatively impact the competitiveness of European producers who must comply with high animal welfare standards. This will create a chilling effect on animal welfare legislation because farmers, as well as authorities, will not want further costly regulation of their production. At the most extreme, this may even put existing standards at risk or, at least, their effective enforcement.

  3. The lack of effective labelling of animal welfare products ensures that this negative cycle will continue. If consumers do not know what standards animals are reared in, they are even more likely to purchase cheap, low welfare products, thus ensuring a market for low welfare imports.

APPROACH

The objectives of the Trade & Animal Welfare Project are:

  1. To ensure that EU trade relations do not present a barrier to maintaining and improving EU standards of animal welfare protection.

  2. To positively impact animal welfare protection in partner countries through trade relations by providing relevant incentives and technical assistance.

The Trade & Animal Welfare Project operates on three levels in order to achieve these objectives.

THE EU: STRENGTHENING ADVOCACY CHANNELS

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Our advocacy efforts aim to inform trade policy decision-makers and stakeholders of animal welfare issues, and to create tools for animal welfare organisations to advocate for improvements to animal welfare. We seek to influence ongoing bilateral trade agreement negotiations as well as to improve the enforcement of existing agreements. To do this, we use a set of model animal welfare provisions . These seek to enact conditional liberalization for animal products, to safeguard the right to regulate, and to ensure effective cooperation to protect animal welfare.

We act as a radar in monitoring all animal welfare-related affairs in international trade. We are working primarily on EU-MERCOSUR negotiations and on upcoming agreements with Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK (post-Brexit). We also sit on the civil society body that works on enforcement of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement sustainable development chapter.

CIVIL SOCIETY: BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING

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Our advocacy efforts aim to inform trade policy decision-makers and stakeholders of animal welfare issues, and to create tools for animal welfare organisations to advocate for improvements to animal welfare.

We act as a radar in monitoring all animal welfare-related affairs in international trade including free trade agreements such as TTIP, CETA, EU-Japan, EU-Vietnam and EU-MERCOSUR.

THE PROJECT: BUILDING A LONG-TERM STRATEGIC APPROACH

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Defending animal welfare in the framework of trade policy is something the European public wants. A 2016 Eurobarometer survey proved it: 93% of Europeans strongly agree that imported products from outside the EU should respect the same animal welfare standards as those applied in the EU.

We hope to work toward achieving this by building the Project’s knowledge base and communication methods. The Project will provide in-depth analysis of EU bilateral trade relationships , updates on lobbying efforts, and research papers. The aim is to use these tools to convince EU decision makers to adopt pro-animal welfare negotiating positions that account for consumer interests, trends in international trade, labelling and traceability, and private and voluntary standards.

TRADE AND ANIMAL WELFARE PROJECT BROCHURE

Click here to download the brochure

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