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EU Hosted Global Conference on Trade, Welfare

by 5m Editor
27 February 2009, at 8:46am

EU - On 20-21 January 2009, the European Commission hosted a Conference on Global Trade and Farm Animal Welfare. The highlights are presented as as USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN report in the series, <em>EU-27 - Livestock and Products - 2009</em>.

The aim of the conference was to raise international support for introducing animal welfare in international trade standard setting bodies, including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) made presentations on private initiatives along side of scientific perspectives on how to better achieve welfare for animals with outcome based measures. Governments also presented information on how their countries are engaging internationally in multilateral and bilateral agreements. NGOs made presentations on private initiatives along side of scientific perspectives on how to better achieve welfare for animals with outcome based measures. Governments also presented information on how their countries are engaging internationally in multilateral and bilateral agreements.

Conclusions

Conclusion from Paola Testori Coggi, Deputy Director General, DG SANCO

Ms Testori Coggi discussed how to define standards: discussions in the conference seemed to converge towards OUTCOME based approaches using science-based indicators. Equivalency could also be discussed in terms of animal welfare.

With respect to the WTO, she believed that the EU should work to integrate animal welfare into the rule of law. In the EC, it took six years to incorporate animal welfare into bilateral and multilateral agreements. This encourages the EU and it helps third countries implementing OIE standards. The EU creates new market opportunities with these animal welfare standards. Maybe there are too many private schemes, but the EU sees this as an opportunity to create opportunities for farmers. Consumers all over the world are ready to pay more for value-added.

Conclusions from David O'Sullivan, Director General, DG Trade

Mr Sullivan saw open scepticism that animal welfare is an excuse for protectionism and remarked that it is a complex issue. Science based discussion in WTO could be engaged if those discussions are based on established international standards in trade policy. Animal welfare has an effect on the trade relationship in terms of economic benefits. The EC is working to increase interest in animal welfare in bilateral and multilateral agreements. Mr Sullivan acknowledged that not all countries can address animal welfare in the same way.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report, which includes links to several presentations, by clicking here.