The Federal Minister of Agriculture, Julia Klöckner (CDU), presented a new animal welfare label: the planned labeling of meat in supermarkets should provide consumers with information on conditions in livestock farming and encourage farmers to make improvements. The specifications relate to stables, transport and slaughter.
"Animals are co-creatures, not disposable goods," Klöckner said. That is why the subject is everyone's concern, "not just the pet owners, but also the retail, catering and consumer sectors".
The state label is expected from 2020 in the first instance for pork. The three-level marking is intended to inform about the storage conditions of the animals from birth to slaughter. According to Klöckner, the higher animal welfare requirements must be met "mandatory and verifiable" in order to advertise the packaging on the packaging.
More space, better transport, training of the holder
According to the Minister, this should yield improvements, for example in the space available in the stables, in the labor materials for the animals and in their transport, but also in training and stable management of the livestock farmers.
It is for example planned that piglets may be cared for by their mothers at the lowest stage for at least 25 days, in the third, upper phase this is 35 days. 21 days are required by law.
In addition, improvements should be made in the so-called bays, the separate departments in the pigsties. Different areas are planned for eating, resting and moving.
The animals also need more space: at the lowest level, according to Klöckner "20 percent more" for each pig. For pigs with a weight between 50 and 110 kilograms, 0.75 square meters is legally required. At the lowest level it should be 0.9 square meters, at the highest level 1.5 square meters including a half square meter outlet are planned.
Criticism of animal rights activists
According to Klöckner, these requirements lead to higher costs for producers and thus higher prices for consumers. "Everyone can then consciously decide whether he wants to invest in more animal welfare." A multi-year information campaign is also planned, for which 70 million euros will be made available.
The animal welfare label is voluntary. Critics argue for mandatory labeling and Klöckner also accuse their criteria that they are not strict enough. The minister renews "the meat of pigs from poor animal husbandry, instead of abuses to eliminate", criticized Greenpeace. The lowest level of the label is a "consumer delusion" that does not deserve the nickname Animal Welfare, and which criticized the German Animal Welfare Association.
The big German grocers want to introduce a standardized system from April onwards for the identification of cattle, pigs and poultry.