The new directive at a glance
The area of application of the animal welfare label will be extended to calves from dairy farms with immediate effect. This means that the cattle have a right to significantly more freedom of movement. This applies to both the entry level and the premium level of the “For more animal welfare” label. Cattle may no longer be tethered in the future; this is expressly prohibited by the label. Instead of the narrow pens with full slatted floors, the cows now have larger places with soft, dry and littered floors at their disposal. For added convenience, there are scrub brushes. In addition, a so-called open-front stall is mandatory, which allows the fattening cattle to feel the wind and weather. The premium level of the animal welfare label goes one step further: here, the cattle must have the opportunity to go out to pasture or to a run – all year round.
For more animal welfare – What does that mean?
Thomas Schröder, President of the German Animal Welfare Association, says: “With the animal welfare label we bring more animal welfare into the stables and improve the situation of the cattle immediately.” The German Animal Welfare Association knows from experience that farmers are prepared to keep animals under better conditions. The prerequisite, however, is that the products are also paid for with appropriate prices. Because a change in thinking must now take place. Consumers are quite prepared to pay more money for their meat. To this end, production is to take place in future under higher animal welfare standards.
Why are there the new criteria of the animal welfare label?
In Germany there is no sufficient market for calves of dairy breeds. That is why they are sold – even young female animals that are not used for milk production meet this fate. There is talk of around 600,000 animals being fattened abroad under conditions that are not permitted in Germany. The cattle are then transported to Turkey, Egypt or North Africa, where they are slaughtered.
Schröder says the ordeals of cattle during transport and slaughter are well known. The new criteria are intended to enable a new, animal welfare-friendly and economically sensible fattening system in Germany.