The Trade & Animal Welfare Project Team
By Stéphanie Ghislain & Iyan Offor – 08/11/17
The Trade & Animal Welfare Blog was born this Summer! With this project, it is our aim to better reach out not only to our supporters but also to a general audience, which might be less informed about the interlinkages between trade and animal welfare.
This blog will be made of contributions from Eurogroup for Animals’ staff and members, written from a slightly more personal angle. For that reason, it seemed obvious to introduce you to our regular contributors, the Trade & Animal Welfare Project team.
The Trade & Animal Welfare Project exists because of the generosity of its steering committee, which is made of five Eurogroup for Animals’ members who have recognised the importance of trade for animal welfare.
We are lucky to have a steering committee that is excited about what can be done for animals through trade policy. Here is your chance to discover the faces and the stories behind the logos!
Project Steering Committee Partners
Nick Palmer (Compassion in World Farming) - Head of Policy, former UK MP
I’m Head of Policy for Compassion in World Farming, formerly a Labour MP (see link for my past life). While in Parliament and indeed before, I was always very involved in animal protection issues, so after I left in 2010 it was natural to work in the area, first for Cruelty Free International (who wants to replace animal experiments) and now Compassion.
Our position on this is that we are opposed to factory farms for a wide range of reasons and feel that in order to make progress on this, it’s vital to have trade agreements that don’t open the door to bargain-basement food from whichever country operates with the lowest standards. Essentially we want to level up, not level down! There has been gradual progress in this area even in countries where you might not expect it (including the USA and China), but in a globalised world anyone with higher standards is potentially threatened with less scrupulous competition. With Brexit and the turbulent international scene, the Eurogroup for Animals’ project has been launched at an absolutely crucial moment.
Jenny Schlosser (Deutscher Tierschutzbund) - Political Advisor, Europe
I am working as a political adviser for Deutscher Tierschutzbund e.V. (German Animal Welfare Federation) whose major aim is to prevent cruelty to animals including wild animals, pets, farm animals and laboratory animals. Deutscher Tierschutzbund - founded in 1881 with its headquarter in Bonn - is Europe`s largest animal welfare and nature conservation umbrella organisation. Deutscher Tierschutzbund has sub-organisations in each Federal State (e.g. Bavaria, Lower Saxony, etc.) and represents about 740 local animal welfare associations with approximately 800,000 members. About 550 of these local associations run animal shelters. Beside its headquarter, we also have our Academy for Animal Welfare located close to Munich and our political department in Berlin, nearby the parliament. Deutscher Tierschutzbund`s work is exclusively financed by membership fees and donations.
As someone who likes to be outdoors and who values nature with all of its aspects, the protection and welfare of animals is of great importance to me. Animals are often treated simply as products regardless of the fact that they are sentient beings with needs and feelings. Legal animal welfare standards are often insufficient or even missing, also when it comes to Trade Agreements. This is also why I am very happy to be a part of this project group, because it is not trade with animals or animal products that has to be protected, but the animals themselves. We want to remind politicians in the EU of that, and this is why our project is so important. The EU can only fight for higher animal welfare standards on international level if existing legal loopholes are closed and current standards are raised. With this project, we would like to contribute to this.
Elodie Gerome-Delgado (Fondation Brigitte Bardot) - Assistant to the Director, Animal Protection Office
After studying international relations I dedicated myself to several humanitarian and social projects, first at UNESCO in the culture sector and then as the Director of a small NGO raising awareness on disabilities. I was very happy with those missions but my true interest has always been animal welfare. Thus, I decided to combine my skills with my passion for animals at Fondation Brigitte Bardot, where I became Assistant to the Director of the Animal Protection Office.
Fondation Brigitte Bardot is a leading French NGO recognized of public utility which promotes animal welfare, supports many sanctuaries, shelters and rehabilitation centers all over the world and undertakes various campaigns and legal actions in favor of animal protection.
For Fondation Brigitte Bardot as well as for me, making sure that animal welfare is taken into consideration during trade negotiations is of major importance. Liberalization will lead to more and more international exchanges, which will most often be driven by economic interests. Even though today the environment and social responsibility are taken into consideration in most agreements, animals remain the forgotten ones. Yet, they suffer a great deal from market opening and mass consumption leading, inter alia, to abuses, long painful transportation, detention and slaughter in horrific conditions…
This is why Fondation Brigitte Bardot has decided to be part of the Trade & Animal Welfare Project, so that we can work with Eurogroup for Animals in ensuring that animals are well represented in trade policies.
Paul Littlefair BA HonFCOT FRSB (RSPCA) - Head of International (RSPCA)
Paul graduated in modern Chinese studies and studied and worked in both China and Japan before joining in 1998 the RSPCA, the world’s oldest animal welfare organisation. In 2012 Paul became the head of RSPCA International, overseeing strategies for around twenty countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. He continues to have specific responsibility for the organisation’s programme in East Asia. His role is to identify opportunities to share the scientific, technical and legal expertise of the RSPCA through work with partners in government, academia, industry and civil society, to promote the welfare of farm, companion, laboratory and wild animals, the development and enforcement of animal protection law and standards, and animal welfare education. Paul also advises global brands on animal welfare policies and sustainable sourcing of animal products. He has worked with the authorities in China, South Korea and Taiwan to promote sustainable agriculture, standards and the concept of higher welfare assurance and food labelling schemes.
Despite Brexit, the international arm of the RSPCA will continue to be very active in Europe and the wider region through membership of the newly launched European Animal Welfare Platform, and also through close partnership with the OIE and the FAO. Croatia’s Regional Animal Welfare Centre, set up with RSPCA support, plays a key role in facilitating collaboration on animal welfare between member states and candidate countries in the Balkans and beyond. Over the years the RSPCA’s strong science base has enabled us to make a significant contribution to welfare developments in the EU’s regulations covering both farm and laboratory animals. As the largest trading partner of more than 80 countries, the EU has a crucial role to play in setting and maintaining high animal welfare standards globally. We believe it is essential that civil society, in particular animal welfare organisations, work alongside industry and academic partners to ensure the EU’s high standards are protected and current and future bilateral trade agreements reflect the concerns of EU citizens for the welfare of animals.
Pierre Sultana (VIER PFOTEN) - Director, European Policy Office
The son of a farmer, I studied EU and WTO law in France. After gaining experience in the heart of the European (EU Council) and French institutions (SGAE) on environmental and agricultural issues such as the negotiation of the Regulation on animal welfare at the time of killing, I entered the third sector with the International Federation of Organic Movements, in Brussels. I then founded the EU Advocacy Office of the Austrian Seed Savers organization Arche Noah. After that I joined the international animal welfare organization VIER PFOTEN in 2014, and have been the Director of its European Policy Office since 2015.
FOUR PAWS is an Austrian based International Animal Welfare Organisation with offices in ten European countries, South Africa, Australia and the USA. This international approach allows FOUR PAWS to lobby and campaign more effectively improving animal welfare and improving thousands of animals’ lives each year. FOUR PAWS was founded in 1988 in Austria to campaign against fur farms and against battery farmed eggs. During its early years the charity was very successful, closing down numerous fur farms, stopping two airlines transporting wild birds and generating awareness about the suffering of bears at tourist attractions. In 1994 FOUR PAWS started to work internationally until, in 2003, the organisation became FOUR PAWS International. We recognized that European laws and trade agreements that have a major impact on animal welfare across Europe may be passed at European level rather than by governments of individual countries.
This is why we have a team in Brussels who take part in relevant political decision-making processes. However, we also lobby and submit proposals to governments in individual countries where we can help improve national animal welfare laws.
The Trade & Animal Welfare Project staff work at the Eurogroup for Animals’ office in Brussels, at the heart of the European Union. They stay in close contact with the steering committee for organisational decisions and to continuously get insight from a member state perspective.
Stephanie Ghislain - Project Leader Trade & Animal Welfare, Eurogroup for Animals
For as long as I remember, animal welfare has always been a cause close to my heart. As a young teenager, I was already refusing to go to zoos and dolphinarium, and making scenes in supermarkets about Tuna cans that did not display a “Save the Dolphins” label. However, later on, I got caught in another passion I have kept since then: politics.
Convinced progressist, I studied political sciences and the EU’s external relations: I wanted to understand the system I would have to navigate through. My ambition has always been to contribute to changing our society into one that would see less inequalities, less selfishness and more respect for Mother Nature. With that in mind, I chose a position in a left-wing oriented consultancy firm where I could both gain the expertise that could be needed to promote humanist causes, and work on issues that I held dear.
This is when I first had the opportunity to work on Trade and Animal Welfare. Back then, in 2011, I had the opportunity to contribute to a project that articulated an opposition to CETA in the European Parliament with the respect by Canada of European citizens’ willingness to maintain the EU ban on seal products. At that time, I understood how trade could be used as leverage to promote a good cause. The following years saw an increasing politicisation of trade policy, and civil society organisations - as well as individuals with a progressive mindset - realised how modern trade policy directly impacts our models of society.
Trade policy has widened its scope and touches upon sensitive areas, such as standards and regulations. Trade experts argue that harmonizing all those regulations will bring more trade, and thus more wealth. Yet regulations are the expression of a society. The choices we make to ensure our safety or to define what we want to accept, be it in terms of animal welfare, the environment or the rights of the workers, are essential. They are the emanation of who we are as a society.
Trade should not jeopardize each society’s choices and more trade should not come at the expense of the animals, who cannot even complain about their treatment. If we do not stand for them, who will? When we import animal products from third partners that do not respect our level of animal welfare standards, we only contribute to increase the suffering of the animals from which the product is derived. In addition, we also put at risk our own standards - for which animal welfare NGOs have fought for a long time - as high animal welfare standards could be seen as badly affecting competitiveness.
When I heard about the opening at Eurogroup for Animals as Project Leader on Trade & Animal Welfare, I knew the stars had aligned and they were showing me the way! I could not be more grateful to have joined such an amazing team and to be able to put my expertise at the service of those who make me the happiest, the animals!
Iyan Offor - Associate PhD Researcher, Eurogroup for Animals
I am an animal lover first and foremost. Some of my best experiences in life have involved unique encounters with animals in the wild (particularly deer in my native Scotland, and swimming with turtles when scuba diving in Indonesia) and treasured moments with my two beautiful german shepherd dogs. I decided to pursue a legal education so that I could work at a policy level to try and have a real, concrete, positive impact on the lives of animals. It seemed to me that working with the law was one of the best ways to ensure change on a large scale.
I first heard about the Trade & Animal Welfare Project when I was a few months into my LLM by Research at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. I wrote my 40,000 word thesis on the chilling effect of the World Trade Organisation on European Union animal welfare legislation. This was after I first identified trade policy as a real risk to animal welfare protection a few years previously in an honours class. So, when I saw that the Trade & Animal Welfare Project was forming at the end of 2015 at Eurogroup for Animals and that they were looking for an intern, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to learn about how things really happened on the ground.
Now, in September 2017, I can happily look back on my experiences interning with the Trade Project and I am now reaching the end of a fantastic year working as a Project Officer. Now, my role with Eurogroup for Animals will change once again as I have received a PhD scholarship to research trade law and animal welfare regulation at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. Eurogroup for Animals is a partner in this research and I will continue with the organisation as an Associate PhD Researcher.
I couldn’t be happier to be working amongst a team of motivated animal lovers who work incredibly hard every day to make the voiceless heard. All of the gains we make for animals in Europe are at risk if we don’t safeguard them when we open up our markets to imported products. For that reason, I am absolutely convinced that it is essential for the animal welfare movement to tackle trade policy.