Eurogroup for Animals, a Belgian group that seeks to improve the treatment of animals in the EU, has reported that the CETA trade agreement was approved by the EU parliament (408 votes in favour, 254 against, 33 abstentions). CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is a deal negotiated between the EU and Canada which is considered by many to pose a serious threat to animals and the environment. It has been dubbed the “little brother” of the better known Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreements.
CETA will remove taxes and other barriers to trade on animal products entering the EU from Canada, which will likely result in a steep increase of animal product imports. CETA will allow a phase-in of unlimited, duty-free live animals and horsemeat from Canada, all while the EU simultaneously acknowledges that Canadian horsemeat may not meet EU food safety standards. As the CHDC has previously reported, effective March 31, 2017, American horses imported to Canada for slaughter will require a six month residency.
The European Union has recognized animals as sentient beings and requires member states to ensure that their welfare is respected. Such is not the case in Canada, where animal welfare standards are poor relative to those in Europe. Our legislation is weak at both the federal and provincial level. We rely on Codes of Practice standards for each species; these are nothing more than “guidelines” for housing and transporting animals that are completely voluntary and have no force or effect in law. CETA does not require EU imports of Canadian animal products to comply with European standards, does not ensure traceability, and it does nothing to stop low-welfare Canadian animal products flooding the EU market where it is generally considered that meat consumption is in decline. Under the agreement, the European market will be compelled to accept these poor-welfare, animal products from Canada. Therefore, this agreement denies concerned European consumers the right to make informed choices about any animal products they purchase.
Please read more about the CETA agreement, analyzed and summarized by the group Compassion in World Farming.