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The case for mandatory method of production labelling

Labelling Matters is a joint initiative calling for mandatory method of production labelling of meat and dairy products across Europe. We believe that clear and honest labelling will benefit consumers, farmers and animals, and provides the best way for governments to deliver key ambitions on farm animal welfare.

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Better for consumers

Method of production labels answer the question consumers most want to know, ‘How was this animal kept?’  When labelling is mandatory – in other words on everything from the most intensively produced meat and dairy products, to the most welfare friendly products – it is easy for consumers to compare standards and to make an informed choice.  Labels also allow consumers to act as citizens. They make the market place more democratic, meaning that each time you buy higher welfare food, you’re demanding better lives for farm animals.

Fairer for farmers

Confusing labels undermine the competitiveness of higher welfare brands. Mandatory method of production labelling is a simple measure to enhance transparency – meaning that consumers can identify higher welfare products – and reward farmers working to better welfare standards.  Clear, honest labelling increases producer confidence in the market for higher welfare meat and dairy products, incentivising new entrants, and stimulating further improvements, and innovation.

Good for governance in Europe

Mandatory method of production labelling provides governments with a straight-forward opportunity to deliver increased opportunities and growth in all higher welfare meat and dairy sectors, by improving consumer choice, and allowing the market to influence and reward improvements in farm animal welfare.  Existing initiatives demonstrate the success of method of production labelling in delivering consumer-supported price differentiation.  When these labels are underpinned by independent assurance schemes, they also help enforce animal health and welfare rules, improving bio-security.

An opportunity for Britain

Labelling Matters is calling on the British government to introduce method of production labelling for all meat and dairy products.  Brexit offers an unprecedented opportunity to take back control of British food production and for more farmers to shift from volume to quality production.