Eurogroup for Animals launches new report on animal welfare and food labeling
In the past ten years, labeling initiatives informing consumers on farm animal welfare in food production have emerged in the EU Member States. Today, there are a dozen labeling schemes pertaining to farm animal welfare in at least six Member States. The diversity of these voluntary initiatives from the private, public, and nonprofit sector fits the expectations of European consumers, who demand information on farm animal welfare, as 47% of EU citizens “do not believe there is currently a sufficient choice of animal welfare friendly food products in shops and supermarket.”
The EU institutions have taken such a popular request seriously. In May 2020, the European Commission made a series of announcements laying out the orientations of the EU’s policy to achieve climate neutrality in the agri-food sector (the “Farm-to-Fork Strategy”). In its Strategy, the European Commission refers to labeling as a central instrument to provide consumers high-quality information, regarding the sustainability level of food production, the nutritional value of food items, as well as consumer information related to animal welfare. On that last point, the European Commission announced the enactment of a EU animal welfare label.
Historically, Eurogroup for Animals has focused part of its efforts to advance the interest of farm animals using market-based measures, including information to consumers. Specifically, Eurogroup for Animals supports the adoption of a “Method-of-Production + label,” which is a label that would combine method-of-production marking with simple information on animal welfare, based on a core set of animal welfare indicators. The “Method-of-Production +” label should be mandatory for all animal source food products sold in the EU, for three reasons:
- Mandatory labeling would ensure that all products are labeled, and not just the ones that perform well on animal welfare – an important shortcoming of voluntary labels.
- Mandatory labeling would entail regulation by the government, which consumers perceive as more reliable than private certificators.
- A multi-level label required on all products by law would be more effective in harmonizing practices and setting improvement targets easily identifiable for producers.
To ensure full transparency to consumers, the scope of an animal welfare-related label should further cover the entire supply chain: breeding, fattening, transport, and slaughter.
Read our full report here:
Animal Welfare and Food Labeling: Initiating the transition through high quality consumer information