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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Why the CETA trade deal is bad for animals


Greens have been longstanding opponents of CETA, the Canada-EU trade deal. Like TTIP, the proposed but suspended agreement with the US, CETA has strong UK Government backing. In February Green MEPs voted against CETA in the European Parliament, although a majority of MEPs, including UK Tory, Lib Dem and many Labour MEPs voted for it.

Jean Lambert explains why CETA is bad for animals:

“There are many reasons to oppose CETA, but we mustn’t forget its potential impact on animals. CETA aims to increase trade between Canada and Europe, but it also puts pressure on regulations which can be presented as ‘barriers to trade’. CETA’s Investment Court System (ICS) gives additional powers to multinational companies to sue governments in private tribunals which operate outside the domestic court system.”

“CETA says little about animal protection, but Canada’s farmed animal welfare laws are much weaker than those of the EU. Under CETA an additional 130,000 metric tons of beef and pork will be allowed to be exported from Canada to Europe and these will not need to meet EU animal welfare standards.”

“But concerns over animal protection go further than this. We should not rule out the Investment Court System being used by multinationals to challenge present or future animal welfare provisions. As with environmental protection, this could lead to the overturning of public policy, huge compensation payouts, and, perhaps worst of all, a chilling effect on progress towards more ambitious animal protection laws.”

“For these and many other reasons Green MEPs voted against CETA in the European Parliament. Regrettably a majority of MEPs didn’t heed our concerns. But Brexit will certainly not solve the problem. The UK Government is strongly committed to CETA and wants to negotiate its own similar trade deal with the US.”

  • A version of this article appears in the spring/summer 2017 edition of Making Tracks.