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Welfare label schemes: Do they help to solve welfare problems in European pig production?

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Market-based promotion of animal welfare is seen by politicians in Europe as an important tool for improving animal welfare. Governments of several EU member states have taken initiatives for promoting market-based pig welfare. Here, in this position paper we discuss whether and to what extent pig welfare labels, implemented in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands, address the major welfare problems observed in European pig production. Consumers often focus on aspects of pig welfare related to naturalness, such as outdoor access,
straw, and duration of suckling period. Consequently, animal welfare labels have a strong focus on these aspects. However, pig welfare labels rarely address major welfare problems often seen in practice, such as piglet mortality and weaner diarrhoea. Moreover, pig welfare labels seldom include animal-based measures (ABMs), such as tail lesions. This may be due to costs, as animal-based measures are more expensive to use in a certification system than resourcebased measures. It may also be because animal-based measures are difficult to communicate to consumers. However, inclusion of ABMs would provide documentation on actual levels of important animal welfare problems. Regarding the existing differences in the requirements between national label schemes due to different prerequisites in different areas of Europe, inclusion of ABMs may be an approach to harmonize animal welfare labels across the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2021
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group level - Cork, Cork, Ireland
Duration: 16 Aug 202119 Aug 2021
Conference number: 8


Conference8th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group level

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