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Germany to seek EU animal welfare label on meat

Germany will press the European Union to introduce a label on meat saying it came from humanely raised farm animals, said German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner.

The move would be part of a new German government program to improve farm animal welfare, she said.

“Transparency changes buying behaviour and then the production processes and manufacturing processes,” she said. “This will make it possible for consumers to recognize products which were produced using a very high level of animal welfare.”

The government wants to produce a charter for agriculture and consumers setting out a series of medium- and long-term goals for German farm policy. The actual definition of humanely reared still needs considerable research, the government admits, but it hopes the charter will address things such as the amount of space farm animals receive and their freedom of movement. Practices such as castrating piglets without painkillers are not compatible with animal welfare, it said.

Consumers must be ready to pay more for meat with such labels, said German farmers’ association DBV.

“Consumers will have to change their understanding of prices,” said spokesman Heinrich Graf von Bassewitz.

“Consumers who complain about so-called factory farming have pushed forward this form of agriculture through their purchases of cheap foods and their extreme price consciousness.”

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