Document type: news from Eurogroup for animals
Author : Stephanie Ghislain
Preview: A group of over 40 civil society organisations (CSOs), congress people, and animal welfare specialists in Brazil sent joint letters to the European Parliament, Council and Commission, and to the Brazilian Government this week, requesting the inclusion of animal welfare clauses in the additional protocol of the EU-Mercosur FTA. The central objective of the request is to ensure that the trade deal will not aggravate animal cruelty, but rather promote the wellbeing of farmed and wild animals. Indeed, as it stands, the deal will further fuel intensive animal agriculture, with an exponential increase in the export of products of animal origin to European countries. The letter also suggests that by conditioning trade preferences to specific animal welfare standards, the deal would contribute to tackling deforestation and public health issues. The main driver of deforestation is the expansion of pastures and grain farms, such as soy used in animal feed, in biomes not covered by the EU regulation on imported deforestation, such as the Pantanal wetlands and the Cerrado savanna. Conditioning trade preferences to animal welfare standards would contribute to improving animals' health, reducing the use of antibiotics and the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted from animals to humans. [...] The draft EU-Mercosur FTA already has an animal welfare condition for shelled eggs. Unfortunately, this is not the most traded animal product between the regions - these are beef and chicken meat. The EU-New Zealand FTA, which was agreed most recently, reserves the preferential tariff for beef products derived from grass-fed animals, hence explicitly excluding feedlots for sustainability related reasons. The time is thus now right to ensure a similar treatment for beef in the EU-Mercosur FTA, but also to add conditions for other animal products, especially where the trade volume is higher.