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The Impact of the World Trade Organisation Rules on Animal Welfare

In this article, Peter Stevenson, Chief Policy Advisor, Compassion in World Farming, considers whether the WTO rules still constitute as strong an obstacle to animal welfare measures as is often suggested by those in government and seeks to demonstrate that governments are taking too cautious a view and using them as an excuse for not making more meaningful changes to benefit the welfare of animals.


What impact do WTO rules have on animal welfare? The conventional view is that, while a WTO member country may prohibit the use of cruel farming practices in its own jurisdiction, it cannot restrict the import of products derived from these practices in other countries. However in recent years the WTO has made significant rulings, such as in the EU seals case, which are potentially more positive for animal welfare and the environment. 

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