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News Release

For Immediate Release 7/20/06

Contact: Adam Weissman (201) 928-2831




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(New York) – 28 animal rights groups, including Wetlands Activism Collective signed a letter that was sent to every member of the House of Representatives today, condemning the Oman Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., scheduled for a today in the House of Representatives, as “a deadly disaster” for wildlife.


Loss of habitat for terrestrial wildlife and marine life is a main concern for activists. If the agreement is passed, activists say that U.S. corporations and their subsidiaries will be ensured the right to unchecked, destructive development in Oman as a result of provisions to challenge natural resource contracts, service contracts, and infrastructure projects. Industrial pollution and development has already led to the disturbance and destruction of beaches that serve as nesting and foraging sites for a variety of species of turtles including the critically endangered hawksbill turtle. With passage of this trade agreement, coastal development is likely to increase to the detriment of the already threatened wildlife. In addition, Oman has not signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates international trade in wildlife. However, according to CITES reports, Oman is home to 24 species of animals that are threatened with extinction and 189 additional species whose trade must be closely controlled for their survival.


The agreement offers strong protections to corporate investors, but adds only token environmental protection processes that are considered ineffectual by environmental groups. If passed, private corporations will be able to sue nations in international tribunals for tens of billions of dollars for refusing to allow ecologically destructive natural resource extraction projects that endanger wildlife. This has already proven detrimental in previous instances where the World Trade Organization has sided with corporations over environmental laws.


According to Adam Weissman of Wetlands Activism Collective “As habitats are destroyed and factory farms are expanded, the OFTA will mean suffering and death for animals as well as irreparable habitat loss. Congressmembers need to realize that a vote for the Oman deal is a vote against animals.”



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