Animal welfare goes to Rio

If you’ve got a customer who thinks that animal welfare is ‘just something that flares up on the TV every now and then,’ they should be encouraged to think again.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has successfully lobbied to have animal welfare put on the agenda for the next United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Also known as ‘the Earth Summit’, this event will be held in Rio in 2012.

In parallel, the first, tentative, suggestions are emerging in some parts of the world to ask whether animal welfare requirements should be introduced into the major international treaties that govern world trade.

I recently had an opportunity to meet a fellow from the UK who has some involvement in these trade discussions. He thought it would take a number of years before it happened, but he was convinced that it will happen.

And he thought it would be a trade bonanza for Australia and New Zealand. He said we already produce the cleanest, safest food in the world and he thought we are clearly in the race to produce the most humane food too. His view was that ensuring future market access to many parts of the world is going to require animal welfare to be properly, and transparently, handled.

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