Method of production labelling should be extended to all meat and dairy products to improve animal welfare, a leading veterinary body has said.
The British Veterinary Association said that extending the requirement for production labelling beyond eggs to all meat and dairy could offer post-Brexit UK food producers and farmers a unique selling point by providing consumers with the clear welfare labelling they want.
It threw its support behind Compassion in World Farming’s Labelling Matters campaign, which calls for mandatory method of production labelling of all meat and dairy products sold in the European Union.
Legislation for mandatory method of production labelling has already been implemented for shell eggs, which must legally be labelled either as “eggs from caged hens”, “barn eggs”, “free range” or “organic”. Supporters of Labelling Matters want to see this principle extended to meat and dairy products from other farmed animals.
Consumers are overwhelmingly in favour of clearer welfare labelling with 80% of EU consumers wanting labelling that shows which farm system was used to produce their meat and dairy products, according to research commissioned by Labelling Matters.
“Mandatory method of production labelling would give unambiguous information to the high numbers of consumers who care about animal welfare when buying meat and dairy products and help ensure market support for British farmers who pride themselves on achieving the highest welfare standards," said BVA president, Sean Wensley.