Flanders launches new label for animal-friendly products
A new label for animal-friendly products, Beter voor Dieren (Better for Animals), is to be introduced in Flanders, minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts has announced. The first products bearing the label are expected to be on store shelves by the end of this year.
In a statement on Tuesday, the minister said that many Flemish consumers want to make animal-friendly choices when buying food and are willing to pay extra. At the moment, however, there are many food labels without clear standards on animal welfare.
The forthcoming label aims to address this issue. It will initially be used for pork products, followed by poultry and then other animal products. It will be awarded to producers who go beyond the legal requirements to improve animal welfare throughout the production chain. This may include minimising unnecessary transport, providing additional enrichment or ensuring that animals have extra space.
The label will have three levels: one plus sign for limited extra effort, two plus signs for increased effort and three plus signs for those producers who go the extra mile.
Cheap meat still popular
"For many Flemings, animals play a crucial role in their lives, and they also want their purchasing decisions to be guided by animal welfare," Weyts said. "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."
"For many Flemings, animals play a crucial role in their lives, and they also want their purchasing decisions to be guided by animal welfare"
According to the EU survey Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare, published last month, 84 per cent of Europeans believe that farm animals in their country should be better protected than they are at present. Some 60 per cent said they would be prepared to pay more for products from welfare-friendly farming systems.
In practice, however, there's little evidence of this attitude, said Wim Moyaert of the Flemish farmers' movement Boerenforum in December. Consumers still often choose cheap meat, which perpetuates intensive livestock farming.
#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK