Incorporating information about the way in which animals are reared (method of production) on the labels of products has the potential to transform consumption patterns, which can contribute to improved levels of animal welfare on farms.
Method-of-production labelling on animal products helps consumers to make choices to support production processes that are more respectful of animal welfare. In turn, this can accelerate a transition to a more humane animal agriculture industry.
The introduction of the egg labelling scheme in 2008 is a notable example of how this works in practice. Under the scheme, all imports of shell eggs must be labelled according to their method of production. The rules require country-of-origin labelling on imported eggs and further impose a “non-EC standards” mark for imports where there is “no sufficient guarantee as to the equivalence of rules”. The number of egg-laying hens kept in alternative, non-cage systems steadily increased in the EU following the introduction of the scheme, indicating the positive impact of a higher level of transparency.
Six member organisations of Eurogroup for Animals have developed their animal welfare label, some of them pioneering the field, and including in Member States where other existing public or corporate animal welfare labels already exist.
These initiatives by the nonprofit sector have led animal protection organisations to work hand in hand with public administrations, consumers, certifiers, retailers, producers, and farmers. Based on years of the seasoned experience of its members, Eurogroup for Animals proposes what would be the most effective format for an animal welfare label.
This label, called “Method-of-Production Plus” (“MoP+”), aims to ensure high quality information to consumers, paving the way to more humane production methods, all the while bolstering fair competition on the common market.