Berlin One year after the introduction of meat labeling in the large supermarket chains, the consumer advice centers are demanding speed with the planned state logo for better animal husbandry. After the first step of the trade, the second must now take place and the broader animal welfare label must be launched, said the head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Klaus Müller, the German Press Agency.
The state label should include further criteria for rearing, transport and slaughter that the system of trade does not know. However, the SPD insists on fundamental changes to the plans of Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU).
The large supermarket chains introduced uniform labeling on packaging for beef, pork and poultry in April 2019. The logo with the inscription “keeping form” shows the conditions slaughter animals had in the barn. This happens in four stages, which start with the legal minimum standard.
For the state license plate, Klöckner plans three stages that only start above the legal standard. Farmers should be able to use the logo voluntarily, but must then adhere to criteria. The cabinet launched a bill in the fall.
SPD parliamentary group deputy Matthias Miersch told the dpa that, in view of criticism from both coalition groups, it was already clear that the draft in this version would not get a majority. “Without a livestock strategy and an obligation, there will be no label.” Voluntary agreements would not do justice to animal welfare.
The strategy must first determine which requirements animal welfare must meet. The labeling must then be based on this. “If the Federal Ministry of Agriculture does not finally deliver here, the introduction of the animal welfare label will become increasingly difficult during this legislative period,” said Miersch.
European law stands in the way of liability
Consumer advocate Müller said he actually sees a large political consensus that more animal welfare is desired. But there is “hesitation” and “blockade” in individual countries and unfortunately also in the Bundestag with the state logo. He thinks that requests that it can only be made with commitment is sympathetic. “But it is politically illusory.”
For reasons of European law, it was initially only possible voluntarily. “But that can trigger a dynamic.” With the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of the year, “there is a great opportunity to turn this voluntary German label into a binding European label”.
The Ministry of Agriculture also points out that mandatory national labeling is in fact not possible due to discrimination against EU foreigners. Klöckner is also working on an initiative in the EU. On request, the ministry said it was now advocating “prompt advice” on the bill in the Bundestag.
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