Responding to Defra Minister Jim Paice MP’s call for voluntary country of origin labelling, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has renewed its call for clearer animal welfare labelling across the EU.
Mr Paice called on the British food industry to improve its country of origin food labelling voluntarily following a European Parliament vote in favour of new compulsory country of origin labelling in June. The European Parliament wants meat labels to indicate where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered, and for meat from slaughter without stunning (according to certain religious traditions) to be labelled as such. The BVA welcomed the European Parliament vote.
The BVA is calling for one clear EU-wide welfare label that takes into account the welfare of animals use in food production from birth to slaughter, including the production system, transport and method of slaughter.
Commenting, Harvey Locke, President-Elect of the BVA, said:
“While we understand the Minister’s desire for labelling to be voluntary, we believe that the current voluntary labelling system is confusing for consumers.
“Country of origin labelling should include information on where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered. Many consumers consider British meat to be of a higher welfare standard, but buying British doesn’t always mean the animal was born, reared and slaughtered in this country.
“The BVA is calling for one clear welfare label that consumers can trust.
“The BVA also supports the labelling of meat from animals slaughtered without being pre-stunned. Animals that are not pre-stunned suffer lower welfare at slaughter, yet meat from these animals enters the mainstream food chain without being labelled.
“Consumers want higher welfare standards and should be given the tools to make informed choices. Voluntary labelling is not enough.”