This week, at the occasion of the Expert group meeting on Trade Negotiations, the Commission gave an overview of the implementation status of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). This implementation implies the setting up of around 13 committees (between the Parties, thus the Canadian government and the European Commission) and 5 dialogues. CETA contained only one mention of animal welfare, as a potential topic for the future EU-Canada regulatory cooperation forum.
However, documents published by the Commission revealed that animal welfare has been discussed in the framework of the Joint Committee handling sanitary and phytosanitary measures (first meeting of the above mentioned committee took place end of April 2018). While the agenda item mentioned discussions around an animal welfare technical working group, the report on the meeting indicates that “Both sides identified a path forward to further identify ways to continue the important cooperation on animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance. A discussion was held on the necessity for direct exchanges between experts on these issues and a path forward in this regard will be defined in the coming months.” As obvious from the convoluted language, this is just a start, but still an unexpected one: animal welfare was not mentioned at all in the SPS chapter of the agreement.
When it comes to the Regulatory Cooperation Forum, the EU had started a consultation with stakeholders on the topics that could be raised with Canada. Eurogroup for Animals and Djurens Rätt contributed to suggest several issues on which both partners could work to further improve the welfare of animals used in science, farm animals, equines and fish. In the document presented this week by the Commission, animal welfare is listed as one of 5 fields that the EU will propose to Canada, however in way less details that we could have hoped for. The paragraph which is quite short (4 lines) outlines that the objective would be to “raise awareness and establish a common understanding on relevant issues, share technical knowledge, and promote the development and implementation of the OIE’s relevant international standards.” While this is disappointing in the content, it is still significant that the topic was chosen. Hopefully, Eurogroup for Animals will be able to monitor this process and to have an influence on the content of discussions through its presence in the European Domestic Advisory Group established in the context of CETA.
For more information please contact:
Stephanie Ghislain, Trade and Animal Welfare – Project Leader
+32 (0)2 740 08 96 | firstname.lastname@example.org