Brussels – Today at the European Parliament, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Europe, Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft e.V. (AbL) (member of peasant farmers’ organisation Via Campesina), Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and PowerShift released a new report documenting how the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) empowers the global meat industry and undermines family farming.
The new report, Selling Off the Farm: Corporate Meat’s Takeover Through TTIP, is based on an in-depth examination of public negotiating positions, leaked negotiating texts, and industry documents. It analyses how TTIP’s “regulatory cooperation” agenda would affect existing rules that govern the U.S. and EU meat industries. The investigation found that the powerful meat industry is aggressively using TTIP to lower standards that protect public health, and undermine governments’ ability to create essential labour, environmental and animal welfare reforms in the future. If successful, TTIP would weaken regulations and undermine small-scale farming in Europe.
IATP Europe’s Director and co-author of the report, Shefali Sharma: “A TTIP deal would hand over Europe’s animal farming sector on a silver platter to transnational meat corporations--through tariffs and quota expansions, but definitively through the sweeping de- regulatory changes the industry hopes to win through the accord. The U.S. simply lacks essential rules that should curb the industry’s worse practices that cost taxpayers millions in environmental and public health costs. With TTIP, the EU industry will ensure that pending decisions on critical issues such as cloning, glyphosate and factory farms’ methane emissions are made with trade ‘competitiveness’ in mind and not the public interest.”
Sharon Treat, lead author and former U.S. state legislator said: “The analysis clearly shows that regulatory processes for key issues that the European and American public care about—from climate change, GMOs, country of origin labelling or future rules on technologies such as gene editing--will be affected. The meat industry will be able to use TTIP to effectively undermine efforts to regulate the negative environmental and public health impacts of their industrialized practices in the future—not just at the EU and federal level, but for EU Member States and U.S. states as well.”
Hanny Van Geel, European Coordination Via Campesina: “Farmers in Europe are already reeling from the dairy crisis since the Commission ended the quota. With TTIP, the Commission is selling out the European and US peasant family farm model. It will transform European production into the U.S. model of 1-4 companies that control the whole system from production to the grocery store. As farmers, we have a choice: to do slave labour on those industrial operations and slaughterhouses or instead run our own sustainable farms, supporting local slaughter and processing, providing jobs and supporting the local economy and communities.”
Olga Kikou, CIWF’s European Affairs Manager: “European animal welfare organisations have been waiting for the Commission to strengthen existing legislation and enact more species specific laws on farm animals for several years. But, the intense pressure to increase production and lower costs regardless of how animals, workers or farmers are treated drives the global agribusiness industry. TTIP will increase trade and pressure to cut costs, thereby going in absolutely the opposite direction to what the European public is demanding—stronger and better animal welfare.”
Peter Fuchs, PowerShift: “Chinese-owned Smithfield is present in the United States, Poland and Romania. TTIP would hand Smithfield and other agribusinesses new rights to sue governments for enacting common sense laws.”
GUE/NGL MEP Stelios Kouloglou hosted the panel which included MEPs from parties across the political spectrum (EPP, S&D, GUE/NGL, Greens, EFDD).
Full paper available at iatp.org/selling-off-the-farm.