New report presents key recommendations on EU-India animal welfare cooperation as trade negotiations resume


New report presents key recommendations on EU-India animal welfare cooperation as trade negotiations resume

12 May 2021
On May 6th, Eurogroup for Animals and FIAPO (the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations) jointly hosted a webinar on the theme “Planting the Animal Welfare Seed in EU-India Trade Relations”, ahead of the EU-Indian Summit that was held on May 8th where India and the EU announced they will relaunch negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA).

Watch the replay of our webinar here:

Initiated by Eurogroup for Animals and FIAPO, the event put forward concrete recommendations on how the EU and India could work together towards improving animal welfare in the context of their trade relations. The recommendations came up ahead of the EU-India Summit held on May 8th where partners announced they will relaunch negotiations for a free trade agreement. In parallel with the negotiations for the FTA, the parties committed to closely cooperate on topics such as “food, nutrition and agriculture, including on sustainable food systems”. Animal welfare, as an integral part of sustainable development and lying at the heart of sustainable food systems, should be a strong dimension of the upcoming cooperation and negotiations.

Why should animal welfare be discussed in the context of trade relations? Because we know that only by ensuring animal welfare can we guarantee efficient production, good animal and human health, and sustainable trade flows. The pandemic we are living through is the best example to illustrate the urgency of reflecting on the need to ensure coherence between environmental, food and trade policies."
Maria do Céu Antunes, Portugal Minister of Agriculture
As explained in Eurogroup for Animals latest report BRIEFING: India - Animal Protection in EU Trade Negotiations, improving animal welfare is linked to many political goals supported by the EU and India, such as building resilience in the food production sector, fighting antimicrobial resistance or preventing the spread of zoonoses.
There has never been a better time to discuss animal welfare in the context of EU-India trade relations (...) Leaders have agreed to promote cooperation on issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, antimicrobial resistance, but also on strengthening sustainable food systems. Such a wording clearly calls for the inclusion of animal welfare in the EU-India agenda."
Varda Mehrotra, CEO of FIAPO
In light of the increasing interest in pursuing the FTA between the EU and India, it is important to make the animal voices heard, but also to discuss and exchange on how we can learn the lessons of the COVID-19 and find ways to prevent future pandemics."
Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals
Considering the announcement by the European Commission to introduce “Sustainable Food System” chapters in  future EU FTAs, one key aspect of the future negotiations will be to ensure ambitious cooperation mechanisms on animal welfare, paving the way for more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Under the future FTA, the parties could for instance cooperate on improving animal welfare in key agri-food sectors in the EU and India, such as broiler chicken, laying hens, fish or dairy cows.
India is the fourth largest consumer of antibiotics in animal food production. Unless we have animal welfare standards, we cannot think of sustainability."
Dr Vijay Pal Singh, Joint Director of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India

Eurogroup for Animals key recommendations for such a cooperation under the future EU-India FTA are the following: 

  • Partners should agree on a comprehensive cooperation mechanism on animal welfare, either under standalone political dialogue or a dialogue under the future FTA;
  • The future EU-India FTA should include a comprehensive and enforceable Trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapter that contains detailed language on the link between animal welfare and sustainable development; sustainable agriculture, or sustainable food systems; wildlife conservation and trafficking; fish welfare and sustainable aquaculture; strong enforcement mechanism, including last-resort sanctions;
  • The Parties should integrate an animal welfare dimension to any dialogue they might establish on antimicrobial resistance;
  • The EU should only grant better trade preferences to products that respect animal welfare standards equivalent to those applied in the EU (during transport and on farm).

Read more here.

Learn more about Animal Welfare and the EU - India Free Trade Agreement here:


Stephanie Ghislain - Trade and Animal Welfare Project Leader, Eurogroup for Animals | +32 479 436 083