The European Parliament recently adopted a proposal mandating higher welfare standards for chicken used in meat production, including a provision that would regulate or prohibit the importation of chicken not produced with the same high standards. Final passage of such a law would likely raise a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint by a chicken-exporting nation. This Note argues that under WTO precedent, a carefully crafted import ban could survive such a challenge by invoking the moral exception to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In order to defend its regulation, however, the European Union must first attempt to negotiate a resolution with its trading partners, allow a flexible timeframe for nations to comply, provide exceptions for producers who abide by high standards, and mandate the same standards for both domestic and foreign producers. This Note argues that the European Union should follow these steps, and not back down from passing a much-needed law to improve animal welfare.
Edward M. Thomas,
Playing Chicken at the WTO: Defending an Animal Welfare-Based Trade Restriction Under GATT's Moral Exception,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.