Over the years, EU consumers have growingly expressed their wish to be better informed on the farming conditions of animals. Information on animal welfare exists for some products due to legislation or private initiatives. Apart from eggs, most animal welfare claims are voluntary. In any case, there is no EU harmonised system for most products. Consumers are often unable to understand and differentiate the various claims proposed.
In the framework of the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission will consider options for animal welfare labelling to better transmit value through the food chain.
To this end, the Commission will conduct an external study foreseen to start first half 2021.
In parallel, the Commission has established, under the EU Platform on Animal Welfare, a sub-group on animal welfare labelling. The sub-group will assist the Commission in collecting data on previous experiences on animal welfare labelling.
Current EU system
At present, there is only one EU-wide compulsory system of labelling on animal welfare, which applies to table eggs. It is based on the EU legislation for laying hens and defines different production methods (cages, free range, barn, etc.).
There are also EU voluntary marketing standards for poultry meat, which includes reference to types of farming.
In addition, the EU organic farming rules encourage a high standard of animal welfare.