ROUNDUP: Next round for a new animal husbandry logo
A piglet (symbolic image). pixabay.com / CC0
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – It’s about more space in the barn, better conditions for animal transport – and the next attempt at more clarity for millions of supermarket customers. The traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP wants to introduce animal husbandry labeling for meat and sausages from the new year. A logo like this has been wrestled for a long time. However, it should no longer be intended on a voluntary basis for increased animal welfare, but as a binding system – including secure financing for the farmers. The consumer advice centers are calling for the legal standards to be raised as a prerequisite.
The head of the Federal Association (vzbv), Klaus Müller, told the German Press Agency that the current minimum standard was unsatisfactory in every respect. If customers should also spend more money on products in the future, an actual and controllable increase in quality is important as well as the certainty that the animals are better off. “And that must be clearly recognizable.” It should not happen that the trade demands higher prices, but that more animal welfare and welfare are only faked.
According to the coalition agreement, the mandatory husbandry labeling should also include transport and slaughter. In addition, there should be an indication of origin. The implementation might not be easy, however, two previous attempts have already failed. Most recently, Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) wanted to put a voluntary animal welfare logo with comprehensive criteria above the legal standard on the shelves – and repeatedly stated that it was only binding throughout the EU. In addition, the large supermarket chains already have their own meat labeling. The logo with the inscription “HALTform” has four levels, which start with the legal minimum standard.
“What the trade has presented so far is simply not enough in the entrance steps,” complained Müller. “That is a marginal improvement for the animals.” It is important not only to look at how things are kept in the barn. The “holistic approach” with slaughter and transport is correct and should be supplemented with breeding.
Trade and the food industry are drummed up for their already widely used labeling, which, according to a survey of their own, has now reached 65 percent awareness among German citizens. These strengths must definitely be included in the deliberations of the coalition, explained the food trade. From January, the logo will also appear on cartons of milk and dairy products.
Higher standards also meant that consumers would have to be prepared for higher prices for animal products, explained Müller. “Not only will there be two stages – cheap meat and expensive meat – but there must be stages in between.” This is also important because the organic standard is not affordable for many. With such intermediate levels, he could imagine price surcharges “between 10 cents and perhaps a good euro per kilogram”.
The background to this is that the livestock owners should not be left alone at the expense of, for example, investing in new stables. The new agriculture minister, Cem Özdemir (Greens), has already declared himself to be the “supreme lawyer for farmers” who should be helped in the transformation towards better animal welfare, environmental and climate protection. But at the same time he is also “the highest animal rights activist in this country”.
The coalition agreement remains rather vague in terms of funding. For this purpose, a “system supported by market participants” is to be developed in order to use the revenues to promote running costs and investments for a specific purpose without “burdening the trade with bureaucratic burdens”. But how exactly? At least models such as an animal welfare tax or a VAT increase for animal products are on the table.
The consumer advice centers also urge speed with the introduction of the new labeling. Özdemir is now the third minister to deal with it, said Müller. “It must now come quickly and it must also be quickly available in stores.” After that, however, it is important to be patient, as many consumers first have to learn how to eat meat again after the times of lack of transparency. / Sam / DP / nas
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