Trade and Animal Welfare

Trade can have an immense and detrimental impact on animal welfare. Trade in animal products has almost doubled in Europe in the last decade, so it is vital that we pursue direct lobbying action to put animal welfare in the minds of trade negotiators within the EU.

Increasing access to the EU market without ensuring compliance with domestic standards promotes sub-standard imports, which directly affect the competitiveness of European producers and expose consumers to substandard animal products without providing the information necessary to make informed purchasing choices. The EU also loses its leverage in trade negotiations to improve animal welfare globally.

Contrary to the EU’s reputation as a world leader in animal welfare, Free Trade Agreements have included little to no farm animal welfare protection whilst allowing considerable liberalisation of trade in animal products. The EU’s importance on the global market and its reputation on animal welfare mean it has a decisive role to play on this issue in its bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

What do we want to achieve? 

  • A trade dimension in new animal welfare legislation;
  • Stronger language in EU FTAs;
  • Results through FTA implementation;
  • Linking SDGs and animal welfare;
  • Informing and raising awareness;
  • Increasing academic research on T&AW, notably on the compliance of method of production labelling systems with WTO rules.

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