UK Food Labelling - Animal Welfare Groups

Why would I include animal welfare groups in this series of articles about UK food labelling?

In other articles we’ve looked at this issue from the side of food producers and food processors, both are obvious players in the UK food labelling saga.

However animal welfare groups, like Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) and the RSPCA, are working hard to change public opinion and legislation.

We have seen some excellent farm animal welfare campaigns, like the River Cottage Chicken Out campaign but unless these campaigns are long term and sustained (ie constantly nagging us rather than something we can easily forget tomorrow) they will only reach the already converted.

Where large organisations such as CIWF or RSPCA have an advantage is they are easily recognisable by the public, reach all social classes and people tend to trust their opinion, knowing their campaigns are based on animal welfare issues.

I don’t want to get into a verbal bun fight about the Freedom Foods investigation by 5 News as this article is about food labelling and not farm animal welfare per-se.

CIWF and River Cottage recently teamed up on the campaign for better labelling of chicken meat and welfare conditions for chickens. The CIWF campaign is largely focussed on the honest labelling of chicken meat, whereas the River Cottage Chicken Out campaign targets the welfare of chickens aspect.

This campaign now has over 200 MP’s signed up for EDM 581 (an Early Day Motion in Parliament on the welfare and labelling of chickens) so is on course for really implementing change.

Of course these organisations have an uphill battle. The paradox they face is that only a small percentage of consumers are willing to pay the price of organic food produced by members of the Soil Association and yet a high majority of the British public are concerned about farm animal welfare and honest food labelling.

The public are concerned about the issue but don’t want to pay higher food prices and would much prefer someone else to do something about the current problems .. it’s basically apathy, as consumers have for so many issues these days.

On the CIWF website they offer a free compassionate shopping guide which you can download and print off. You can also find out if your local MP has signed the EDM and if not get writing and ask them to.

The question we should be asking ourselves is why do these groups need to campaign at all? Why do we, as consumers, have to take a guide book with us when we go shopping? Shouldn’t that in itself be a huge red flag saying our food labelling is totally misleading.

Our government is responsible for ensuring we are making informed choices and at the moment they are failing miserably. Food labelling is not a new concern and our membership of the EU and CAP has contributed significantly to the food labelling fiasco we now face.

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4 Responses to “UK Food Labelling - Animal Welfare Groups”

  1. olly from Glass Verandas (21 comments.) Says:

    I think the main problem here is that the public is not aware of these loop holes that exist.

    After watching Hugh’s chicken campaign I was shocked to see how chickens were treated and concerned about the meat that was produced from that kind of farming. I personally have changed the way I buy chicken both from a moral and health point of view. Without this program I would not have even thought about it in the first place.

    After reading your post about food labeling I was shocked to realise that there were such huge loopholes that could allow someone to deliberately mislead you into believing your meat (or indeed any other product) was from somewhere that it actually never was from.

    Now without this post I would have had no idea. So how can the general public even be aware to protest about it? More needs to be done, that is for sure!

  2. jann Says:

    It has always bewildered me why it costs more to buy meat from stock reared in a healthy, natural environment as opposed to factory farmed intensley reared ones ….. in an intense environment the costs of keeping stock healthy enough to survive with the aid of antibiotics, temperature control and deep litter or sluicing / slurry tanks and drainage is not going to be cheap …. although I suppose the area required is far less …. so are we paying for the ‘ label’ of organic or naturally reared meat?

  3. Sally Says:

    It’s really only through campaigns like Hugh’s that the general public will hear about it as the general media will pick it up, not because it concerns the public but because a tv star is involved … crazy world we have created (oh dear I seem to be in cynical mood today lol).

  4. Sally Says:

    What a great question Jann, worthy of it’s own post I think … shall go do some digging.

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