Green South West MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has pushed for a series of Green amendments to TTIP (ttip2014.eu/qa.html), as the European Parliament has been considering its position on the controversial trade deal this week. She presented the amendments to the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, of which she is a member. The deal seeks to harmonise standards between the EU and US and Dr Scott Cato is deeply concerned at the potentially devastating impacts this will have on South West farmers. She believes it will threaten the region’s reputation for specialist and high quality food and drinks.
“It seems for the sake of a trade agreement we are prepared to sacrifice high agricultural and animal welfare standards,” says Dr Scott Cato.
Greens are to table a series of amendments to TTIP to ‘defend high standards for farms and food’. Molly Scott Cato said:
“The EU and US treat risks in very different ways. In the EU the onus is on new products or processes demonstrating they are safe. If this cannot be done we follow the ‘precautionary principle’. By contrast, US regulation relies on proof of harm. We will be tabling amendments to defend the precautionary principle which we believe is essential to ensure the highest level of animal and human health.”
Greens also worry that harmonisation would prevent the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) from carrying out its duties of assessing the risks associated with the food chain. Dr Scott Cato said:
“If TTIP were adopted, we fear the EFSA would no longer be able to raise concerns over food or feed safety. This would risk food that is currently considered unsafe entering the human food chain in the EU. Greens will introduce an amendment to require each party to the Treaty to adopt the standards of whichever authority sets these highest.”
Greens point to the fact that the EU has a number of regulations and directives on animal welfare covering different species of animals at all stages of farming, while the US has no federal farm animal welfare legislation before slaughter and even excludes poultry at slaughter. Molly Scott Cato concluded:
“My role as a South West MEP is to defend the highest standards of agriculture in terms of safety and human and animal health and welfare. These standards are seriously at risk as a result of harmonisation with standards in the US. The amendments the Greens are proposing will resist any attempt to lower these standards. Trashing our hard-fought-for regulations must not be allowed to happen simply to facilitate a greater exchange of farm and food products.”