April 20, 2024

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New food labels to identify Belgian producers that ‘go the extra mile’ with animal welfare

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Around 60 per cent of people say they would be prepared to spend more for products from welfare-friendly farming systems.

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An area of Belgium will soon have new animal-friendly labels on food products.

In Flanders, a Dutch-speaking area in the country’s north, packaging will come with information about animal production standards.

The new label, called Beter voor Dieren (Better for Animals), will identify products whose companies have followed ethical procedures when raising animals used for human consumption.

The Flemish Ministry of Animal Welfare, which introduced the policy, hopes it will encourage consumers to be more conscious of issues surrounding animal welfare in food production.

Belgian region introduces animal-friendly food labels

The Better for Animals label hopes to guide consumers to make more conscious and responsible choices when buying animal-based products.

It also aims to shine a spotlight on the production methods of food companies and push producers to use more ethical methods of raising animals.

The label intends to give producers who put an emphasis on the well-being of animals an advantage in the market.

Animal welfare is a key concern for European consumers

The new label could have a significant impact on consumer choices. The EU survey Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare, published last month, found that 84 per cent of Europeans believe farm animals in their country should be better protected than they are currently.

Around 60 per cent said they would be prepared to spend more for products from welfare-friendly farming systems.

“For many Flemings, animals play a crucial role in their lives, and they also want their purchasing decisions to be guided by animal welfare,” the Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts told the Belga news agency.

“The Beter voor Dieren label makes this possible and even easy. At a glance, you will be able to see which producers are going the extra mile for animal welfare and which are not.”

How will the animal-friendly food label work?

The Better for Animals label will appear on food packaging from producers who have endeavoured to go beyond the standard legal requirements for animal welfare during food production.

Actions might include reducing unnecessary transportation of animals, providing higher quality animal food or ensuring that animals have more than the legally required amount of space.

The labels will also place producers into one of three categories depending on how far they have gone beyond basic standards.

One plus sign signals limited extra effort, two plus signs mean increased effort and three plus signs for companies who ‘go the extra mile’.

Products bearing the new labels will be in stores by the end of the year. They will initially appear on pork products, followed by poultry and other animal products.

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