Issue 3: Transnational trade and import/export: Is this issue worth bothering about?

November 1, 2020

Advocates are faced with unbelievably full plates every day. Unless something is absolutely essential, they would rather not trouble themselves with it. Is it essential for advocates to take a little time to understand the influence that import and export, that transnational and cross-border trade, that international regulatory bodies such as the WTO have on animal agriculture in low- and middle-income countries? Or is that a luxury that should be placed low down the advocates’ list of priorities?

Academic studies offer compelling reasons why it would be beneficial for advocates to learn more about this issue. Consider, for example:

  • Trade restrictions, trade wars, tariffs: If they are serious, an importing country X may not be able to get hold of goods Y. So even if everyone in X clamors for Y (e.g. beef), Y is not available to them to be consumed. Consumer demand is not the whole story.
  • Countries (especially those in the low- or middle-income bracket) relying on export of animal-based food to foster national economic development.
  • The trade in live farm animals.
  • The palettes of people in developing countries being shaped in profound ways as “Western” food (often animal-based) are introduced to them thanks to international trade.
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