Animal welfare food labelling

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

As FVE, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, we are writing to you with regard to the second reading of the proposal for an EU regulation on the provision of food information to consumers and with particular reference to amendments 353, 359 and 354 (labelling of foods from animals not stunned before slaughter).

The FVE very much welcomed the European Parliament’s vote (16 June 2010) in favour of labelling for meat from animals not stunned before slaughter but we were extremely disappointed by the EU Council decision (7 December 2010) to drop the plans for such labelling.

FVE believes that all animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter to improve their welfare at slaughter. However, as long as slaughter without stunning is permitted FVE has argued for any meat from this source to be clearly labelled to enable all consumers to make an informed choice when purchasing such products. As our President put it “”Consumers have the right to be informed if the meat is derived from an animal not stunned prior to slaughter”.”

The FVE is indeed very concerned by the fact that in certain EU countries a high proportion of animals are killed without stunning, while the proportion of consumers of this type of meat is very small (around 3.5% of the whole population). Meat from these animals is sold on the domestic and export market, even to consumers who are unaware of the slaughter conditions.

FVE therefore strongly urge you to support Amendment 353 (or Amendment 359): Meat products from special slaughter, for which the labelling would include ‘Meat from slaughter without stunning’.

In summary, FVE believes that all animals should be stunned before slaughter. But as long as slaughter without stunning is permitted, consumers should have the right to make an informed choice. We believe such labelling would go a long way to improve consumer choice and animal welfare, and would drive down the number of animals slaughtered without stunning.