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Transatlantic Animal Welfare Council Formed

by 5m Editor
30 April 2010, at 5:03p.m.

GLOBAL - Major non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have signed an innovative declaration and set up Transatlantic Animal Welfare Council (TAWC).

Eurogroup for Animals has signed a major declaration that sets up the Transatlantic Animal Welfare Council (TAWC), which brings together the world's two largest trading blocs – the EU and the USA – ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare are achieved.

Eurogroup and its members have led the development of this ground-breaking new initiative and they are working to establish a forum that will strengthen the relationship and cooperation between animal welfare groups in Europe and the USA and optimise resources by sharing knowledge, expertise and experience on animal welfare.

The TAWC follows the formation in 2007 of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) which was also set up with the objective of strengthening transatlantic cooperation with both sides trying to remove trade barriers and regulatory burden.

The initiative highlights the high level of citizen concern for animal welfare in both trading blocs and TAWC will cooperate constructively with the EU and US authorities to ensure that trade discussions take due account of the special nature of animals as sentient beings and of consequent concerns for their welfare.

Sonja Van Tichelen, Director of Eurogroup for Animals, said: "This is an historic day for animal welfare campaigners and Eurogroup is delighted that its idea has become a reality. This declaration puts in place a concrete organisation dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare in the two largest trading blocs in the world. It will work to ensure that the USA and EU member state governments integrate animal welfare in their bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in future and also urge private companies to consider animal welfare in their CSR and supply chain policies."

Cindy Milburn, Senior Advisor at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), added: "Working together in a more structured manner will deliver even better results and ensure that the concerns of all our citizens are taken into account when the EU, EU member state and USA authorities enter into any trade discussions that concern animals or related products. We are delighted to be part of this initiative and will work tirelessly to make it a success."

Eurogroup will maintain the secretariat for the Council at its offices in Brussels and IFAW will Chair the Council for the first mandate. The TAWC will hold a plenary session twice per year and set up a number of expert working groups to focus on specific topics of mutual interest, such as animal testing, sustainable agriculture as well as specific bilateral and multilateral trade issues.