The new animal welfare designation for pigs has been met with criticism

Animal welfare means 20 percent more space described. Health, transportation and slaughter are irrelevant. Icon image: Pexels on Pixabay (Public Domain)

The new concept does not change anything about violations in animal husbandry. A dietary shift towards more plant-based foods would reduce the external costs to society as a whole

In order to put animal husbandry in agriculture on “stronger legs,” a binding state emblem is needed, as Cem Ozdemir recently explained. After years of failed attempts by his predecessor, the Green Agriculture Minister introduced a new five-stage concept for government labeling of pork packages at the beginning of June.

The emblem should be binding on fresh pork of domestic production in the food trade, with the exception of imported meat. In cooperation with trade, agriculture and the meat industry, some supermarket chains have now introduced a breeding brand. Participating farmers receive an additional fee if they do more to care for the animals. She said the system could be integrated into the state sign.

Some time ago, former Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner argued that mandatory national labeling was not possible under European law. Brussels is now discussing appellation of origin at the EU level. The aim of the monitoring system by the responsible authorities is to ensure that the welfare of the animal promised on the labels is also practiced in the stables.

But how to fund the transformation of animal stables toward more animal welfare remains unclear. One possibility is a higher value-added tax on meat products. Livestock farming in Germany must be developed in an environmentally friendly, animal welfare and economically viable manner, the German Food Trade Association welcomes the new animal welfare label. The German Farmers’ Association is also demanding an animal welfare label schedule for beef and poultry.

So far, the standards have not been sufficient to improve animal welfare in principle, Greenpeace criticizes. Labeling does not apply to sausage, ham, processed frozen goods, beef or poultry. On the other hand, transportation, slaughter and animal health are excluded.

As legal opinion shows, the two worst forms of the five planned breeding are incompatible with animal welfare. Animals have very little space, there is no contact with the open air and they can neither dig into the straw nor into the ground. That’s why they should be banned. The environmental organization is asking the Federal Constitutional Court to ensure that minimum housing standards for pigs are generally raised.

The Secretary of Agriculture should focus better on promoting the three best forms of breeding, because only outdoor stables or free range pasture breeding have a future. Özdemir must also ensure that the systematic restructuring of animal husbandry can be financed.

Foodwatch also thinks the new label is too lenient. As long as animal health does not play a role in the evaluation, animal suffering will not change, the Consumer Protection Organization criticizes and suggests some kind of reward system: those who keep their animals healthy should be rewarded, and those who make animals sick should be rewarded. Payment request. Only in this way can animal protection be imposed as an objective of the state in accordance with the Basic Law. In a recent petition, Foodwatch is asking the Secretary of Agriculture to amend the rules accordingly.

The state transfers responsibility to consumers

In principle, the state is obligated by the Basic Law to protect animals. However, it delegates its responsibility to consumers with a brand, criticizing Peter Karstens, editor of Geo magazine.

Customers in the supermarket now have to balance empathy with wallet. However, in times of inflation and rising food prices in general, purchase price plays a major role for many people. So ‘cheaper’ will probably always win out at the end. In this way, even the worst housing conditions are legitimized.

In addition, the difference between the lower level and the second level of accommodation for pigs is only 20 percent more space. The label also doesn’t mention anything about illnesses and illnesses during transportation or at the slaughterhouse. Products from better breeding systems are often not available at all. So there is no real freedom of choice at the supermarket counter.

Carstens is convinced that anyone with a choice between various miserable housing conditions does not necessarily eat less meat. This is exactly what is urgently needed. Because there is a series of known collateral damages associated with traditional animal fattening and meat consumption: the destruction of rainforests through the cultivation of soybeans as forage, competition for food from forage grains, excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers, soil erosion, liquid manure in groundwater, antibiotic resistance.

If people find out the origin of the meat, they will decide in the supermarket counter the goods from animal care, so the calculation. Egg labeling requirements are often cited as an example of the success of this strategy. In fact, more and more consumers are wondering how to keep them when they go shopping. However, these customers have not yet reached critical mass.

However, the number of people making an informed purchase decision is increasing. The majority support the development of reliable food labels. In a recent survey, 86 percent of those surveyed wanted uniform rules for classifying origin

Meat prices should reflect external costs

Half of the usable land area of ​​our planet is used for agriculture. Meat production alone accounts for 77 percent of this. Compared to plant foods, the production of animal foods requires more land and, most importantly, water.

Environmental and climate pollution and biodiversity loss require external costs of approximately €100 billion per year in meat production alone. A study by the Boston Consulting Group showed that agriculture in Germany generates an added value of €21 billion each year.

What we pay today for a kilo of meat or a liter of milk in the supermarket in no way reflects the costs of climate, environment and health, says Marcel Fratzcher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research in the weekly Die Zeit. External costs are not only paid by those who caused them. Above all, the next generation will have to pay the price. The economist believes that the less we adapt today, the more our children and grandchildren will limit themselves.

Depending on German conditions, this means that meat prices will have to rise significantly again. That the price of beef be five times its price, and its price three times its price. This is the only way scarce resources such as land, water, and workers can be managed in an economically reasonable way, says an economics professor who teaches at Humboldt University in Berlin.

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