Animal welfare in the food chain
ABOUT THE ISSUE
The food chain derives meat, eggs, dairy and many other products from animals. These products are used by society to support their own self interests and wellbeing. Some of the conditions and practices which animals are exposed to during their lives from breeding to slaughter to fulfill societies’ needs have hugely affected their welfare.
Without animal welfare standards and schemes set to control activities and processes from the quality and content of feeds to the breeding and techniques through to the transport and slaughter conditions, it would be almost impossible to demonstrate responsibility towards animals.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The EU current inventory shows that there are about 67 farm assurance schemes operating within welfare policy area. Eurogroup believes that the majority of these schemes or initiatives lack sufficient standards or criteria to guarantee real welfare outcomes to farm animals.
However, there are well recognised, multistakeholder welfare schemes in Europe such as Freedom Food and Better Leven that have been able to demonstrate evidence of real welfare outcomes for animals as well as benefits to farmers and producers who belong to welfare schemes. We work with public sector and scheme owners to influence content criteria of standards, schemes and initiatives that have animal welfare claims.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
Eurogroup calls on all standards and scheme owners making claims to animal welfare to work with us and our network to develop transparent multistakeholder schemes that deliver real welfare outcome to animals. We believe that the devil is in the details when it comes to standards and benchmarks.
Welfare standards content and criteria needs to provide and deliver measurable parameters for operators to demonstrate real welfare outcome to the animals. We also work towards and support benchmarking and harmonisation of animal welfare standards across Europe.