International trade and animals
ABOUT THE ISSUE
Livestock products and live animals are increasingly being traded at international level. Differences in production standards for animal welfare from banning certain farming systems to restricting use of animals for testing and rejecting the sales of produced derived from animal suffering makes it necessary to include animal welfare considerations in trade negotiations. International trade law governed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) does not explicitly forbid restrictions in trade on animal welfare grounds but allows for exemptions on the basis of public morality and consumer preference.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The EU has several trade restrictions in place from a ban on the import of cat and dog fur and seal products to banning the sales of cosmetics tested on animals. The EU seal ban is being challenged by Canada at WTO and the result of the panel will become an important precedent for animal welfare at WTO.
Where the EU has introduced animal welfare standards for food produced in Europe it is allowing imports from countries with low or no animal welfare standards. This situation is harming EU farmers, consumers and farm animals.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- Animal welfare should be fully considered in the EU and international trade policy
- The EU should insist on all imported products complying with EU standards of animal welfare
- EU trade agreements should include provision to safeguard and promote animal welfare
- Every country should have the right to restrict the trade of animals or animal based products for animal welfare reasons in line with the values of its society.
- Export subsidies which artificially create a competitive advantage for EU farmers should be phased out in particularly for live animals.
- Last European Parliament's Resolution on EU & Canada
- Communication of the European Commission on the EU 2020 Strategy
- The EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement: a Boost for Animal Welfare (March 2013)
- Eurogroup's briefing: EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (February 2013)
- Press Release: EU must use trade agreement negotiations as an opportunity to improve animal welfare in Vietnam (June 2012)
- Eurogroup's briefing on a Commission Proposal for a Regulation establishing a common market organisation (CMO) for agricultural products (June 2012)
- Eurogroup's briefing: Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Animal Welfare (April 2012)
- Eurogroup's Briefing: Export Refunds for Live Cattle (December 2011)
- Eurogroup's Briefing: The Global Trade Challenge of Animal Welfare (December 2011)
- Eurogroup's Briefing: The revision on the Generalised System of Preferences (July 2011)
- Eurogroup's Briefing on Trade policy as a component of the EU 2020 strategy - Animal welfare perspective (February 2011)
- Ipsos MORI poll: most Europeans say ‘NO’ to cruelty from Canada
- Briefing for MEPs on EU-Canada trade relations & WTO case on seals
- Press release: Export subsidies for live animals must be phased out by 2013 (December 2011)
- Press Release: European Union must eradicate scandalous animal suffering in all international trade (April 2011)