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New EU Commission Report Highlights Risk of Low Welfare Imports from FTAs

A new report, Cumulative economic impact of upcoming trade agreements on EU agriculture, from the European Commission has highlighted concerns about the effects that future EU trade agreements could have on global animal welfare through low welfare imports.

The report analyses 10 trade deals that are currently in negotiation or awaiting ratification. It found that these agreements are projected to significantly increase low welfare animal product imports.

As highlighted by Eurogroup for Animals:

  • Imports of beef could rise by over 81,000-91,000 extra tonnes - mainly from Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Australia and New Zealand.

  • Poultry imports could increase by over 209,000 tonnes, with the majority coming from Mercosur and Thailand.

  • The report also confirms the effects of some agricultural sectors, placing importance on the volume limits granted in FTAs to animal based products in order to “prevent possible adverse economic and social impacts”. 

In October 2023, a Eurobarometer on Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare showed that when it comes to imports from non-European Union countries, 84% of people believe that the current situation should change, either by requiring imports to meet EU standards, or a labelling system. Just 1 in 10 believe that there is no need for change. The barometer, an official tool that is used to advise the EU institutions, surveyed over 26,000 citizens across all member states in March 2023.

Animal Policy International says the vulnerabilities faced by animals, EU farmers, and the strong demand expressed by EU citizens, underscores the pressing necessity for action. The European Commission ins encouraged to enact legislation aimed at prohibiting the importation of low welfare products.

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