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EU farming unions voice support for proposed animal welfare labelling system

29 June 2021

Copa and Cogeca have welcomed proposed labelling conditions for the Commission's Animal Welfare platform, saying that the proposals reflect the diversity of livestock farming within the EU.

The conclusions of the animal welfare labelling subgroup of the Commission’s Animal Welfare Platform were released on 22 June.

Copa and Cogeca welcomes the main conclusions of this report, which recommends, among other things, the establishment of a voluntary labelling scheme at EU-level based on a multi-tier system that would be flexible enough to integrate existing initiatives and reflect the diversity of livestock farming in the Union.

The proposition made by the Commission’s Animal Welfare Platform presents a pragmatic vision that aims at on-boarding a maximum of livestock farmers and actors within the chain in its approach. The Commission also recognises that there are already many initiatives in the Member States that should not be jeopardised by a system that would be inflexible at EU level. The issue of animal welfare is a complex one that can be addressed in different ways by labels, having the capacity to work with those different visions would strengthen any future European scheme.

If the general principles presented are good, we know from experience that it will be when we start talking about the concrete structuring of this label that things will be more complicated. This is why it is essential, if the Commission wants to create a label that is popular, recognised by consumers and endorsed by the farming community, that farmers are consulted at all stages of its creation and implementation.

The future labelling system must be based on objective metrics and not subjective or emotional ones. These objectives must be based on scientific and agronomic evidence, must be measurable and easily applicable for the whole agri-food chain.

We must also never stop reminding everyone that EU producers apply some of the highest animal production standards worldwide and in many Member States farmers are already going beyond legislative requirements. Extra efforts should be adequately put into value through the future labelling system, recognised by the rest of the food chain and reflected in the context of our external trade.



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