Free Trade Agreements
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Stop Congress from Passing the Anti-Animal Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements!
President Obama and Senate and House leaders want to pass legislation to implement free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea, and Colombia in September 2011.
Unless we stop Congress from passing legislation to implement them, these agreements will:
Increase factory farming and consumption of animal products.
The trade agreements will eliminate tariffs on animal products. This will lower the cost of these products and dramatically increase overall consumption of animal-based foods, shift consumption from locally reared family farmed animal products to US factory farm exports, significantly increase profits for factory farming corporations, and encourage farmers in Panama, South Korea, and Colombia to shift to factory farming to remain competitive. According to the American Meat Institute, "The U.S. Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), if ratified, would be the biggest shot in the arm to the meat and poultry industry since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994."
Increase the likelihood of another mass culling in South Korea.
As South Korean agriculture shifts increasingly towards factory farming to remain competitive with cheap, untariffed US exports after the passage of the trade agreement, the likelihood of bird flu, hoof and mouth, and swine flu outbreaks will increase. This will mean more culls, like the cull earlier this year in which 10 million were killed, with many buried alive.
Endanger critical wildlife habitats. Investor rights provisions in the trade agreements will give US corporations the power to sue Panama, South Korea and Colombia in unelected tribunals that can award unlimited sums to the corporations if the countries take action to protect their environment, putting the future of critical wildlife habitats including the Colombian Amazon and Panama's mangrove forests at risk.
Expand illegal wildlife trafficking.
For rural Colombians unable to sustain themselves off of agriculture, capturing wildlife for export provides a highly lucrative alternative. According to Colombian environmental group ProAves, "between 50 and 80% of these species to die in the long and painful journey." With 400,000 Colombian farmers expected to lose 40 to 70% of their income as a result of the trade agreement, an increase in wildlife capture for export is inevitable.
Poison wildlife. Those who don't enter the wildlife trade will shift to growing coca, from which cocaine is derived. The US is funding an aerial herbicide fumigation program to eliminate coca crops. Unfortunately, the herbicides are destroying sections of the Amazon rainforest, poisoning sensitive amphibians, and encouraging farmers to clear more rainforest for farmland after their current land is rendered infertile. More farmers growing coca will provide justification to continue aerial spraying.
Squander US leverage to encourage Korea to crack down on cruel practices. Korean animal activists rely on international pressure to encourage their government to enact and enforce bans on cruel practices including the exploitation of bears by the bile trade, horse fighting, live dog markets, and other inhumane practices. By entering a binding trade agreement while failing to demand action on these issues, the US is
wasting a golden opportunity to achieve progress.
Provide a source of new animals for marine mammal parks. The Panama agreement contains provisions for the tariff-free export of wild-caught dolphins to the United States.
View a slide presentation on the three free trade agreements, an except from GJAE's longer presentation on how free trade endanger animals and the environment, here
Read more about the trade agreements' impacts on animals and the environment:
Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Panama Free Trade Agreement
US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Over the last three years, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment has collected thousands of signed postcards in opposition to the trade agreements. We now need to address them to Senators and Representatives, sort them by Congressional district, and copy and send them to Senators, House Representatives, and President Obama.
Help us copy and dataenter signed postcards at our office in Astoria, Queens, NY. Call (917) 310-7356 or (917) 543-2208 for address and directions or email info @ gjae.org.
Donations are URGENTLY needed to defray costs including copying, postage, and buying cardstock (we need to copy each cards to send to four different elected officials along with keeping a copy for our records). In addition to volunteer labor, we're hiring people to work full time to ensure that the addressing, sorting, copying, and mailing, are completed before the vote. Your donation will be put in a special earmarked fund to be used EXCLUSIVELY for costs associated with getting these cards to Congress.
To donate use this button
Find out who represents you here. Call your Senators, Representative, and President Obama. When calling your Senators and Rep, ask to speak to their legislative assistants. Urge them to OPPOSE the Panama, South Korea, and Colombia Free Trade Agreements. Mention some or all the reasons listed below. Ask them to tell how their bosses intend to vote on the trade agreements, either on the call or by following up in writing or calling you back. Follow your calls with faxes, letters, or both! Email a summary of their response to info @ gjae.org