Trade in animal products fuels deforestation

Trade & Animal Welfare

Trade in animal products fuels deforestation

Policy Briefing

On 17 November 2021, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal on deforestation-free products. The proposed regulation would introduce specific due diligence requirements for companies placing certain products on the EU market - such as palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee, beef, leather, and soy - that contribute to the destruction of forests.

The proposal could be a game changer for farm animals and for wild animals as it would be a powerful incentive for producers intending to export to the EU to switch to sustainable production systems, avoiding intensive agricultural systems which are not only detrimental to farm animals but also fuels deforestation, thereby destroying wild animals’ habitats.

However, as it stands, the proposal ignores the role played by the livestock industry beyond beef - especially the poultry, pig, dairy and farmed fish production industries - in the destruction of ecosystems such as forests, savannahs and wetlands. The proposal falls short to meet the objective of stopping deforestation driven by the EU’s consumption of animal products.