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HSI Attends Central American Conference about Free Trade

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — Humane Society International is participating in a three-day regional conference, hosted by the U.S. Department of State, about the Environmental Cooperation Agreement of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement from Jan. 20–22. The event brings together participants from Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States to showcase environmental programs funded by the United States government as part of the ECA.

"The conference presents a unique opportunity for all participants to learn from each other's programs, strengthen interagency and non-governmental cooperation and see the scope of environmental cooperation in Central America and the Dominican Republic," said Marta Prado, executive director of International Trade and Development for HSI. 

The conference, which features the slogan "Partnering for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development," is a chance to show regional partners, as well the general public, the positive, long-lasting impact that HSI's programs have for the preservation of the regional environment and wildlife.

Signed in 2004, CAFTA-DR is the first free trade agreement between the United States and a group of smaller, developing economies. In addition to promoting the elimination of tariffs, the reduction of service barriers and the opening of regional markets, CAFTA-DR provides a framework to improve environmental conditions throughout the region.


Some examples of the benefits for animals as a result of CAFTA-DR:

  • In Honduras, HSI is working with a local community to discourage the international pet trade in endemic pink boa constrictors by building an ecotourism complex to attract tourists to see these boas in their natural habitats, while providing the community with an alternative income source. 
  • In Costa Rica, HSI is working with the livestock industry to make their industry safer, more environmentally friendly and more humane.
  • In Nicaragua and Costa Rica, HSI is working with small cacao farmers to increase their ability to obtain organic certification and sell their products in the United States. Shade-grown cacao, also known as cocoa, provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
  • HSI is working with Central American countries to improve enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in order to protect rare species in need of immediate assistance.


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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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