European Parliament must vote to include farm and wild animal welfare in EU-Vietnam FTA
Posted on 17/04/2014
Eurogroup for Animals hopes that the vote on 17 April 2014 in the Plenary in Strasbourg on the Resolution on the state of play of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will endorse the resolution drafted by Jan Zahradil MEP and ensure that animal welfare standards are included in the agreement.
The recommendation in the Parliament’s resolution that calls for the inclusion of animal welfare standards in either the Trade Agreement’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) chapter or a standalone chapter with equivalent enforceable provisions is extremely positive. We also welcome the Parliament’s expectation that a binding and enforceable sustainable development chapter will reflect both the EU and Vietnam’s compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
“The Resolution provides the European Parliament with the opportunity of ensure that the EU and Vietnam recognise the importance of animal welfare and clearly include it when they finalize the negotiations on the SPS and Sustainable development chapters of the agreement,” stated Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals.
During a fact finding mission to Vietnam undertaken by Eurogroup's Policy Officer - International Trade, Cedric Cabanne it was found that local farmers are more and more controlled by international firms, for example from China and the US, while the sector lacks any concrete animal welfare standards. More specifically, small and medium farmers are trying to reorient their production toward more remunerative markets by increasing quality including the development of animal welfare standards. Improvements are still to be made, particularly in the areas of housing, transport of live animals and slaughter.
“This Resolution will have the concrete impact of fostering cooperation with Vietnamese farmers in order that they can develop standards that provide them access to financially sustainable markets while actively improving animal welfare,” he added.
Vietnam is one of the most diversity-rich countries in the world. However, it suffers firstly from the legal and illegal wildlife trade, secondly from habitat loss caused by the development of agriculture and aquaculture, and thirdly from the country’s failure to enforce Vietnamese legislation despite the development of good policies. Populations of species such as bears, elephants, fresh water turtles, pangolin primates, rhinoceros and tigers have been dramatically reduced or even disappeared as a consequence.
“The call for a reference to the CITES convention in the sustainable development chapter will ensure that there is better coordination and effectiveness in fighting the war against illegal wildlife trade,” he concluded.