Know the origin of species
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’.