Know the ori­gin of species

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

Vets are call­ing for com­pul­sory an­i­mal-wel­fare la­bels on meat and dairy prod­ucts to en­sure trans­parency about the qual­ity of an­i­mals’ life and death. The La­belling Mat­ters cam­paign, sup­ported by the Bri­tish Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion, pro­poses the in­clu­sion of la­bels such as ‘in­door in­ten­sive’ (le­gal min­i­mum space only) and ‘per­ma­nently housed’ (for dairy cows that never go out­side) to be added to the ex­ist­ing for­mat. At present, in­for­ma­tion on whether the an­i­mals live in cramped pens or ever see day­light is never shared (Books, page 96). Cur­rently, a fifth of Bri­tish dairy cows are con­fined to barns and more than 50% of pigs are kept in­doors. Bri­tain has higher stan­dards than many other coun­tries, but Brexit could give a chance to in­tro­duce bet­ter rules. Prece­dent shows this would make an im­pact: cage-free egg pro­duc­tion rose from 31% in 2003 to more than 50% after the EU man­dated in­clu­sion of la­bels ‘eggs from caged hens’, ‘barn eggs’ and ‘free range’.

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