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  • Defend Animals and the Environment:

    Defend Animals and the Environment:

    Stop the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements!

     

    The upcoming U.S. - Peru and U.S. - Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are bad deals for animals and their habitats. The agreements should not be supported because:

     

    - Panama and Peru have terrible records for environmental protection. Illegal logging by U.S. companies have resulted in habitat destruction in irreplaceable rainforests and the decline of wildlife populations in Peru. In Panama, the Shrimp industry has its sights set on devastating the mangrove forests, which provide habitat for many endangered species. Foreign investment in industry will increase as a result of the FTAs.

     

    - Investment provisions are expanded which give foreign investors the power to challenge environmental regulations prohibiting contracts as well as to sue for lost profit, making developing countries like Peru and Panama more likely to bow to pressure from industry. These investor rights can also be applied agreements made before the passage of the agreement, which allow companies to challenge previous decisions to prohibit development in protected areas. Mining has already polluted streams, killing fish and amphibians. Industrial noise drives wildlife into unprotected areas to be hunted by miners and wildlife traffickers.

     

    - Substandard environmental provisions only require the enforcement of preexisting environmental laws and the protection of just a few token species. This is of little help when each species depends on an entire ecosystem for survival, and most environmental organizations consider Peruvian and Panamanian laws insufficient anyway. The FTAs state that proposed changes must be “voluntary, flexible and incentive-based.”

     

    - Factory farmed U.S. poultry, pork, and beef will flood markets, taking the place of the locally raised farm animals. By forcing phytosanitary conformity with USDA standards, both nations will have to reduce their restrictions on food products that enter their countries. As a direct result of past FTAs, rural populations unable to compete with tariff-free, industrially produced imports from the U.S. have been displaced into cities. Rural Peruvians’ and Panamanians’ primary meat source is domestic poultry, but urban civilians eat primarily factory-farmed poultry. Increased urbanization will lead to increased consumption and production of factory-farmed meat. Factory farms increase animal emissions, the single greatest contributor to global warming.

     

    - Despite Panama’s promises to stay out of the dolphin trade, the FTA not only allows the dolphin and whale trade, but it remove tariffs on it. Meanwhile, the inadequate provisions of the U.S. FTA with Peru will not mitigate the wildlife trade in that country either.

     

    - The Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements are considered even worse than the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, which the US signed last July, despite the opposition of over 100 animal organizations. It has the power to forever destroy unique habitats and endemic animal species in some of the most biologically diverse areas of the world as well as expand the consumption of factory-farmed animals. CAFTA was passed with only one vote, don’t let this happen with Peru or Panama. To learn more about the agreement, read Global Justice for Animals' report at http://freetradekillsanimals.org/?page=peruanalysis.

     

    Animal advocates must take action to stop Congress from ratifying this agreement!

     

    CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENATIVES IN CONGRESS

    If you aren’t sure who represents you in Congress, go to https://community.hsus.org/humane/leg-lookup/search.html to find out.

     

    BY PHONE: Call the U.S. Capitol at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. When you reach your representative's office, ask to speak to the person who handles trade issues. Give your name, say that you are a constituent, and say that you want your rep to vote no on the Peru Free Trade Agreement, an inhumane, anti-animal trade agreement. Here’s a sample of what you can say during your call:

    Hi, my name is _______________. I live in______(your city)___ and I’m calling to ask (Representative/Senator) ___________ to vote no on the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements. I’m concerned about the agreement’s weak environmental provisions and unlimited investor protections as these could destroy habitats, threaten endangered species, and weaken animal protection laws. OFTA mandates no minimum environmental standards or enforcement of major environmental and species protection agreements. It also allows corporations to challenge US government decisions on federal natural resource contracts.. I’d appreciate a statement in writing explaining (Rep/Senator)_____________position on this issue. My address is (your address).

     

     

     

    Go to http://tinyurl.com/2hoc87 to find your elected officials. Click on “Send Message” for your two Senators and your Representative:. Send an email to the attention of your legislator’s aide on trade issues expressing your opinion on your legislators’ vote on this issue. You can use the sample letter below as as model for your letter.

     

    BY FAX OR MAIL: Go to http://tinyurl.com/2hoc87 and find your elected officials. Click on “View Info” for your Senators and Representatives and copy their fax numbers and mailing addresses. Write letters to your Representatives and both of your Senators expressing your opinion on their vote on this issue. Put your letter to the attention of your legislators’ aide on trade issues. Fax and/or mail your letter. You can use the sample letter below as as model for your letter.

     

    SAMPLE LETTER:

    ( Send a separate to each of your legislators. Fill in your address, the date, choose Senator or Representative, your legislators’ name, and choose one or the other of the words in parentheses, depending on your legislator’s vote. Please modify and personalize using the additional info on this issue provided at the top of this alert)

    (Your Address)

    (Your City, State and Zip)

    July ____, 2007

    (Senator/ Representative) (First and Last Name)

    (Your Legislator’s DC Office Street Address

    City, State and Zip)

    Dear (Senator /Representative) (Last Name):

     

    I am very concerned about the upcoming vote on the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements, which I believe would be detrimental to animal welfare and habitat protection in the regions. The agreement expands the rights of foreign investors, which will give industries such as mining, logging, and agriculture the power to challenge environmental regulations that limit resource contracts. These corporations will have the ability to sue the government for lost profits making it less likely that Peru will pass future environmental laws if it means risking thousands of dollars. The agreement’s emphasis on protecting only certain species evinces a failure to see the forest for the trees. These delicate and irreplaceable forests continue to be cut down for an unsustainable trade, which also contributes to the hunting of thousands of primates and birds, and the destruction of ecosystems on which protected species rely for survival.

     

    While the agreement is being touted as having environmental provisions, these rules only pertain to preexisting environmental laws and many groups already consider both Peru’s and Panama’s to be insufficient. American logging and mining companies have already been found violating environmental regulations by cutting in protected forests, and I believe an expansion of foreign investment will increase their power. Peru and Panama are home to both endemic and endangered species and their rainforests and mangrove forests are considered biological hotspots by ecologists. The destruction of these habitats would have irreversible damage. In addition, I do not support the increase in U.S. exports of cheap, factory-farmed products such as poultry, beef and pork because they will soon replace the locally raised animals, increase pollution, and expand the consumption of factory farmed meat.

     

    I urge you to vote against the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements to prevent the suffering and death of countless animals. Please write back to me with a position on this issue.

    Sincerely,

    (Your Name)

    Global Justice for Animals and the Environment is a project of:
    Wetlands Activism Collective
    Phone: (718) 218-4523
    Fax: (501) 633-34761
    activism @ wetlands-preserve.org