Europe for inclusion of animal welfare in WTO agenda

April 9th, 2009 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Animal rights activists across the world have a reason to smile as the European Union (EU) is pushing for the inclusion of animal welfare standards in the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) multilateral trade negotiations.
“Inclusion of animal welfare standards in the WTO agenda is urgently needed to effectively enforce animal standards worldwide, and to improve the appalling condition of slaughter houses in many countries including India,” Citizens for Animal Rights (CAR), a city-based organisation, said in a release here.

Quoting European representatives, the CAR added: “Animal welfare concerns are being increasingly recognised in food production around the world, but they must be formalised within the WTO trade agreements.”

Czech Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovic, the new chair of the EU Farm Council, was quoted in the release as saying that the next six months would see a strong focus on European animal welfare standards, including new slaughter rules.

“Animal welfare is gaining rapid momentum, not only in the EU but worldwide,” EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said.

She added that animal related issues should be included as “non-trade concerns” in the WTO agreements.

“Getting formal recognition of animal welfare standards within the binding WTO agreements is crucial for unlocking the UN and World Bank resources needed to help the developing world raise its animal welfare levels,” said Michael Scannell, adviser to the European Commission’s Animal Health and Welfare Directorate.

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