RSPCA slams WTO on animal welfare

19 May 1998

RSPCA slams WTO on animal welfare

WORLD trade exemption rules were being exploited by some countries to produce goods to the detriment of animals, the World Trade Organisations (WTO) second ministerial meeting in Geneva heard yesterday.

Britains Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) attacked trade exemptions for their effect on animal welfare.

It said exemptions to trade rules had been narrowly interpreted and applied in a way that had started to undermine measures taken to protect high welfare standards.

The charity said more ethically produced goods would be unable to compete with cheaper imports unless import taxes and tariffs were adjusted accordingly. WTO rules prohibit discrimination among goods on the basis of how they are produced.

The RSPCA urged governments to consider introducing “tariff and tax adjustments” for raising the price of imports that did not meet such standards. It also wanted improved market access to third country producers with high welfare standards.

Martin Wolf, in the Financial Times, says further liberalisation of trade rules to cover tariffs and agricultural commodities, is needed.

  • Financial Times 19/05/98 page 7, page 26

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