Consumers want better animal welfare, but are they willing to pay for it?

In the EU, improved animal welfare legislation has been on the cards since the Commission first announced its Farm to Fork Strategy​.

Although progress has been made​, some Member States have sought to go further and introduce their own national measures. For example, the culling of male chicks after birth is permitted in most EU countries but not all. This creates an uneven level of animal welfare across Member States.

In response, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has sought to determine consumer appetite for improved animal welfare laws across meat and fish. Initial findings suggest consumers do want higher animal welfare, but are they willing to pay for it?

Consumers want higher animal welfare and labels to match

BEUC and associated organisations surveyed a total of 8,000 people across eight countries (1,000 people per country): Belgium, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The biggest takeway was that almost 90% of consumers support new laws to improve the welfare of farmed animals in the EU, such as providing more living space and banning cage systems.

The survey also revealed that consumers want to know more about how farmed animals are reared and need trustworthy labelling. Indeed 72% of respondents said they wat method of production labelling to be extended to other products beyond eggs.

“With nine in 10 consumers supporting new laws for better animal welfare, our survey confirms that the way we treat animals raised for food matters to people. It is high time the EU Commission delivered on its promises to revise EU laws on farm animal welfare,” said Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC.