EU addresses consumer info on animal products

Eurogroup for Animals has welcomed a new European Commission report on how to improve communication to consumers about the way animals are treated in different food production systems.

The animal protection group is particularly pleased that this report will start a political discussion on what the EU should do next to promote high standards of animal welfare in the food chain.

Consumers are growing increasingly interested in where and how their food is produced, says Eurogroup. The issue of sustainable and ethical production is also high on the agenda of producers and policy-makers. Many people remain unaware of how animals are reared for food production, however, and as a result they are unable to make informed purchasing decisions, says a press release.

Sonja Van Tichelen, Director of Eurogroup for Animals: “Although the EU has the highest number of laws on farm animal welfare, its legislation fails to provide an acceptable level of protection to the animals. Most citizens are horrified when shown images of current intensive farming practices such as footage of animals locked in dark cages, castration without anaesthetic, force feeding and genetic selection which leads to disease and injuries."

“Private animal welfare schemes, quality labels or organic production provide alternatives; but for them to succeed, consumers need to be able to identify animal welfare friendly products. In order for us to stimulate sustainable and ethical production and consumption, we need informed consumers, responsible retailers, and farmers who are compensated for their animal welfare investments,” adds Tichelen.

Eurogroup for Animals now urges the EU and its Member States to makes use of the variety of measures and policies that are already available, such as EU-funded information campaigns or support for assurance schemes through rural development funding. Moreover, new initiatives should be envisaged, including in particular, the setting up of a Community centre on animal welfare to assist private and public initiatives on animal welfare.

Source: Eurogroup press release

Natalie Berkhout

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