ABOUT THE ISSUE
A lot of our work in this area is based on our belief that consumers have the ultimate power to bring about improved welfare conditions for animals.
We recognise though that there are numerous barriers to consumers taking action in this direction; and our work crucially deals with decoupling of these barriers to enable consumers become more aware of their power through information campaigns on the different production, transport and slaughter conditions of animals.
We link our streams of work to the ongoing public and private strategies on consumer information to increase consumer access to welfare friendly products.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
Citizens and consumer concern for animal welfare in the EU continues to incresase as shown by European Commission's Eurobarometer surveys of 2005 and 2007. There is much interest in how food is produced and in particular how farm animals are treated.
In the case of eggs, this has led to most supermarkets refusing to sell eggs from barren battery cages.
The high consumer concern is however not sufficiently reflected in today’s livestock farming, in the products on the supermarket shelves or in the shopping trolley. Lack of transparent claims, price and contending priorities, transferred responsibility and lack of alternatives are some of the barriers limiting consumers from voting with their shopping bag.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
Eurogroup calls on the public and private sector actors to do more in providing clear information and creating consumer awareness on issues of animal welfare. The public authority has a role to play in regulating pre-conditions for welfare labelling claims to eliminate the consumer confusion currently existing.
Schemes behind labels and logos carrying animal welfare claims need to be multistakeholder approved as well as based on science, knowledge and evidence of the real welfare outcome to the animals.
- Miele M and Evans A (2010) When foods become animals, ruminations on ethics and responsibility in care-full spaces of consumption. Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (2), 171-190
- Consumers opinions on services of general interest (Special Eurobarometer 260)