Civil Society Organisations from Mercosur and the EU Debate the Impacts of the Mercosur-European Union Trade Agreement on Environment and Animals
On Monday 25 April, Animal Equality Brazil and Eurogroup for Animals gathered organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries for the event, “Discussing the Agreement between the European Union and Mercosur: how can animal welfare promote environmental protection?"
The event aimed to discuss proposals to mitigate the negative impacts of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement. Including animal welfare conditions for the liberalisation of animal products and environmental safeguards in the agreement would not only prevent mistreatment in intensive farming systems, but also curb deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting, the participants debated the need to engage civil society in the Mercosur countries in decisions related to the agreement, the subsidies granted to the animal production industry, the use of natural resources by the farmed animals industry and topics related to One Health, a concept that addresses animal health and environmental balance as essential to human health.
Stephanie Ghislain, Eurogroup for Animals Trade and Animal Welfare Programme Leader, opened the event with a presentation looking at the importance of trade policy in improving not only animal welfare standards, but also human and planetary health. Stephanie highlighted that as many animal welfare standards do not apply to imports, trade agreements can have a big impact on animals.
Reduced tariffs in trade agreements can fuel intensive livestock farming practices, meaning more animals might end up being farmed under lower welfare standards. If lower welfare imports drastically increase, it can also become more difficult for the importing country to improve its standards. This is why it's important to address the impact of trade policy on animals.Stephanie Ghislain, Eurogroup for Animals Trade and Animal Welfare Programme Leader
FAO urges policy and decision makers, financial institutions and all other stakeholders, to steer agricultural support towards production practices and behaviours that favour sustainable food systems and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.Daniella Battaglia, FAO representative
Not only the planet and nature will suffer, but human beings as well. This is another reason why we cannot let the trade deal go any further.MEP Saskia Bricmont
The European Parliament and the European Commission need to understand that in order to combat deforestation and the climate emergency, it is necessary to take measures to solve the causes of these problems and for this reason, it is urgent to raise animal welfare standards in Mercosur countries and to foster the transition from an animal protein food-system to plant-based one.Carla Lettieri, Executive Director of Animal Equality Brazil