EU-US Trade Agreement Could Have Major Impact on Animal Welfare
Posted on 15/02/2013
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes the announcement by EU and US leaders to start preparing negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This announcement follows the publication of the final report of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth and Eurogroup welcomes its conclusions and its efforts to include civil society in a new transatlantic partnership.
The European Union and the United States of America are the world’s two largest trading blocs and are significant trading partners any new trade agreement between them can have a major impact on animal welfare. It is vital that both parties take an ambitious approach and recognise that animal welfare cannot be disassociated from animal health and among the many areas to be discussed and agreed the following issues should be clearly addressed once and for all:
- The need in the food supply chain for increased traceability in order to improve animal welfare and consumer safety, as illustrated currently in the EU by the discovery of horse meat in food products purporting to be made with beef;
- There must be an acceptance of EU restrictions on US imports of chickens washed with chlorine and beef treated with hormones;
- Products from cloned animals or their offspring must not be allowed to be imported in to the EU as European consumers are clearly not in favour of such products being placed on the market, despite the US authorities believing that there is no need to differentiate between meat and milk derived from cloned animals and that from conventional products;
- The current EU ban on thefeed additive (Ractopamine) used by the Pig Industry in the US must be maintained and US producers encouraged to change their production method.
This announcement is a major breakthrough and could have far reaching impacts on animal welfare. However we are disappointed by the lack of ambition shown on improving the environment, in particular in the ‘rules addressing shared global trade challenges and opportunities’. The High Level Group suggested that as the EU and US both have policies and cooperation instruments in place synergies could be made to benefit wildlife but the Final Report doesn’t even mention the concept of conservation or protected areas,”commented Cédric Cabanne, Policy Officer – International Trade at Eurogroup for Animals.
Eurogroup would also like to highlight its concern in relation to investment liberalisation and protection as achieving the “highest standards” on this matter, should not be detrimental to achieving the highest levels of animal welfare and regulations,” he concluded.
Animal welfare is not a “behind the border” or non-tariff barrier to trade. On the contrary, improvements in animal welfare can contribute to growth and jobs by ensuring the highest standards for food production and the conservation of the natural environment.