French retail giant Casino Group, which owns brands such as Monoprix, has this week launched the first animal welfare labelling scheme in France.
Working with three animal welfare organisations, the label is designed to strengthen transparency on animals’ breeding, transport and slaughter conditions, providing the consumer with clear and reliable information.
The partners worked for two years to build a solid reference table of criteria (230 measures) fit to evaluate the level of animal welfare, including issues such as stocking density, outside area, care and method of slaughter.
The labelling provides several levels of notation which value the processes that guarantee a significant improvement of animal welfare and go beyond the statutory requirements. The four levels are: superior, good, quite good and standard.
The label is placed on part of the packaging near the weight/price tag and are currently available on Geant Casino and Casino supermarket stores.
Tina Schuler, Casino Group chief executive officer, said: “The first products have been labelled… and thus the consumers will be informed about the level of welfare of the whole and cut chickens of the Casino Terrre and Saveurs brand. This labelling is intended to be spread on other Casino brand broiler chickens and beyond the perimeter of Casino products as well.”
The company is thinking about implementing an associative structure which would support the approach of animal welfare labelling and would integrate new actors who wish to label their products according to the established reference table.
Amelie Legrand, Compassion in World Farming France agribusiness spokeswoman, welcomed the initiative: “This labelling will encourage the consumers to favour purchases which are more respectful of animal welfare and to value the work of the breeders committed to this matter.”
Dr Jean-Pierre Kieffer, president of the association Oeuvre d’Assistance aux betes d’Abattoirs (OABA), was also pleased with the initiative: “The labelling will allow the consumers to have clear information about the breeding and slaughter conditions of the animals. Video surveillance will contribute to improving the control of practices in the slaughterhouses.”
Louis Schweitzer, president of La Fondation Droit Animal, ethique et sciences (LFDA), added that the project would lead to major improvement in animal welfare, as had been the case with the labelling of eggs introduced 30 years ago.
Research has shown that 98% of French citizens consider the well-being of farm animals to be important and 96% support animal welfare labelling on meats and dairy products.