The RSPCA has issued a call for method of production labelling on all animal products to be made mandatory.
Our chief scientific officer, Dr Julia Wrathall, said: “With more of us interested in where our food comes from than ever before, it’s become worryingly easy for unclear or absent labels to cause confusion and make it difficult for consumers to understand which farming system they’re supporting through their purchases.”
The charity said compulsory labelling could help to raise standards of farm animal welfare as well as providing due recognition and support to farmers who rear animals under higher welfare production systems. Eggs, which by law already have to be clearly labelled with how they are produced, were cited as an example of this. “That’s why we’re calling for action for better labelling,” said Wrathall.
“We’re calling for the introduction of clear, factual and simple mandatory labelling on all animal products, making it easy for consumers to understand how that animal was reared, so they can make an informed choice about their purchase,” she said.
The egg labelling law allows consumers to clearly see if the eggs they’re buying have been laid in a cage, barn, free range or organic system. Consumer demand for eggs in the UK produced in cage-free production systems has risen hugely since the labelling law was introduced. This increase has driven the egg industry to invest more and more in barn and free range laying hen systems, with around 52% of all UK eggs now coming from cage-free systems.