Food. Towards a “nutriscore” for animal welfare on products?

“Label rouge”, “Organic farming”, “Bio consistency”, “raised in the open air”… It is difficult for consumers concerned about the welfare of animals to find their way among the numerous food labels.

That’s the view, anyway, of the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Health at Work (ANSES), which this Thursday is publishing an extensive set of recommendations on which to base the development of a single farm welfare label. animals.

Number of labels

Although Europe has been working for several years on the harmonization of breeding rules and the introduction of a single label, it is clear that we still have a long way to go to a common label. There are many within the Member States themselves, each promising compliance with different specifications, all leaving certain criteria aside.

This is the case in France, where it is difficult to know what commitments the different brands actually guarantee. Where the “Red label” means that the steers spend a minimum of 4 months outside, the “organic farming” and “bioconsistency” labels guarantee permanent access to the outdoors. One example among others.

The designation as an “animal welfare label” certainly takes into account a wide range of criteria, from the way the animals are raised to their transport to their slaughter. However, this label is currently only available for broiler chickens, although the association behind its introduction has since wished to extend it to other types of farms.

Rating from A to E

Meat, dairy products, eggs… In its report, ANSES proposes to incorporate into products of animal origin a system of five levels of well-being, ranging from the best (A) to the lowest (E), more understandable for consumers.

“Level E corresponds to exclusive compliance with the requirements established by European legislation,” the agency states. He believes that such a method of evaluation could “push breeders to gradually improve animal welfare”.

Breeding method, transport, slaughter…

ANSES develops a long series of criteria that should be taken into account throughout life, such as housing animals, limiting the use of painful practices, keeping them in good health, easy access to suitable food.

ANSES points out that well-being also depends on the ability of farm animals to satisfy their behavioral needs: grazing for ruminants or scratching for chickens.

Livestock slaughter methods, regularly condemned by NGOs, must also be closely monitored, with an emphasis on “effectiveness of stunning and control of loss of consciousness and life,” according to the report. ANSES believes that it is also necessary that future labeling takes into account the conditions and time of transport of animals to slaughterhouses.

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