29 Jun 2011
Livestock Keepers’ Rights
NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No 2011/68 by Susette Biber-Klemm
The Livestock-Keepers’ rights have been developed in a cooperative process by civil society and livestock-keepers. They are based on the rationale that the diversity of Animal Genetic Resources in developing countries is eroding due to the loss of the traditional rights of the livestock keepers. They contain a set of principles that are meant to strengthen the position of the livestock-keepers in the South.
The question asked in this paper is whether - in order to achieve the goal to foster in-situ conservation of animal genetic diversity - the concept of livestock keepers rights ought to be formalised and institutionalised in a legally binding international instrument, in analogy to the Farmers Rights on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
The question emerged in the context with an investigation into the rights to ANGRFA, at the interface of genetic engineering; innovation and trade. One of the resulting questions was, whether the existing system of private property rights to AnGRFA is appropriate to provide a basis for fair market relations. One of the conclusions was, that in taking account of the probable entry of patents in the field of AnGRFA, a set of measures is needed to conserve, maintain und sustainably use diversity in AnGRFA and to promote equitable and fair market access for smallholders from the South. Therefore the paper lays the focus on the livestock keepers’ rights under a trade angle, and the prospect of increasing protection by intellectual property rights in the industrial utilisation of the AnGRFA.
In a first step, the paper explores what can be learned of the process leading to the formalization of farmers’ rights. On the basis of this analysis, in a second step, conclusions are drawn as to the elements of the Livestock Keepers’ Rights that are considered important to achieve equitable and fair trade relations. And finally, the pro and cons of the integration of the Livestock-Keepers Rights in an International Treaty are assessed on the basis of a brief excursus into the effect of the formalisation of the Farmers’ Rights in the International Treaty.