EU to investigate welfare competition concerns
Published:  15 July, 2011

The European Commission has launched a €1.5m study into concerns that European Union (EU) animal welfare and food safety rules could harm the global competitiveness of EU meat and other livestock sectors.

Brussels has asked research teams to bid for a major study comparing compliance costs for EU and non-EU country meat producers. In a briefing note, the Commission said it wanted “to compare the situation between the EU and main trading partner countries…in regards to animal welfare and food safety to draw conclusions on the cost of high welfare standards”.

It will choose a research team by December, which will have two years to complete the job.

In its guidance, the Commission stressed this would be complex, because while meat producers in non-EU countries are not bound by EU legislation, they may follow it as “a prerequisite for exporting their products to the EU”, for instance regarding veterinary drug residues. And these producers would also have to comply with their own countries’ legislation.

It wants at least beef and veal, pigmeat, poultry, and sheep meat covered, plus some dairy and arable sectors too. And a minimum of EU member states Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

These would be compared with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine and the US. Other countries could be assessed if the Commission agreed. Its guidance listed the EU environmental, animal welfare and food safety that needed to be taken into account.

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