This little piggy went to the WTO

Wouldn’t it be great to see an end to the torture of pigs in factory pig farms? Just change the code and/or the Animal Welfare Act, prohibit the importation of pig meat that cannot be certified as free range, and it could be done overnight. Right?

Um, no, wrong!

The problem is the WTO. We can’t under the WTO prohibit the importation of factory farmed pig meat without facing punitive retalliatory action. WTO rules supersede our national sovereignty in that regard.

I’m very uncomfortable that the “free trade” requirements of the WTO over-ride our ability to make domestic law to protect animals from the sort of barbaric exploitation we’ve seen over the past few days.

I’m also say that I’m very uncomfortable that they over-ride our ability to keep unsustainably produced goods, like kwila timber and palm kernel, out of New Zealand.

This is a big call, and New Zealand is a small player on the international stage. But should we not be standing up and calling for WTO reform to help the world rid itself of cruel and unsustainable agricultural and forestry practises?

But short of WTO reform to put environmental and animal welfare considerations on a higher footing than freedom of trade, which our Government should be lobbying for, we can still do something.

We can enforce country of origin labeling of food products. That way, assuming we also clean up our own pig stys, consumers can make the choice to not purchase pork from those countries that continue to tolerate the cruelty of factory farming.

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