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         New animal welfare label on meat products will be voluntary: German gov't

         German gov't's agricultural reform plans spark mixed response



New animal welfare label on meat products will be voluntary: German gov't


Source: Xinhua (China)|Editor: Mu Xuequan



BERLIN, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The German federal cabinet approved a package to improve the labelling of meat products on Wednesday.


The level of standard for animal husbandry, transport and the slaughter of pigs would be marked with a voluntary seal in Germany, according to the plans of German Minister for Agriculture Julia Kloeckner adopted by the cabinet.


The aim was to "make it clear to the consumer which products meet higher standards than those laid down by law", according to Kloeckner.


The agriculture ministry stated that in order to "optimize marketing opportunities," its welfare label had three stages where "the criteria of all levels go beyond the requirements of the legal minimum standard with increasing requirements from level to level".


According to Kloeckner's plan, anyone who misused the label should expect a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 30,000 euros (33,000 U.S. dollars).


The Bundestag will need to approve the law. The label would initially apply to pork and be introduced for beef and poultry at a later date.


Following the government's passing of the plan, the Social Democrats (SPD) announced that they would only agree to a mandatory but not a voluntary animal welfare label in the Bundestag.


"Without a livestock strategy and a commitment, there will be no label," SPD deputy parliamentary faction leader Matthias Miersch told the German Press Agency.


German Green Party leader Anton Hofreiter was also critical...





German gov't's agricultural reform plans spark mixed response


Source: Xinhua (China)|Editor: huaxia



BERLIN, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Following months of extensive discussions between the German ministries for agriculture and environment, the German government approved a reform package on Wednesday aimed at making agriculture more environmentally friendly.


The package includes increased protection for insects, better labelling of meat products as well as more funding for research and new financial incentives.


Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said it was a "strong and effective action program" against the dramatic death of insects, given that "a world without insects is not worth living in."


"We want to promote everything that helps insects and we will avoid anything that harms them," Schulze emphasized. This explains the government's decision to ban the use of the particularly controversial herbicide chemical glyphosate in Germany from the end of 2023.


In addition, the government plans to provide an additional 100 million euros (110.3 million U.S. dollars) per year in funding for insect protection measures and research.


The German Ministry for Research and Education, which presented the insect protection plan together with the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture, emphasized that almost one-third of all animal and plant species in Germany "are considered endangered."


Environmental organizations like the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), which welcomed the package as an "important step in the right direction," were generally positive about the overall approach adopted by the German government.


Olaf Bandt, managing director for politics and communication at Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), also welcomed the German government's commitment but warned that the measures were "not sufficient to initiate a trend reversal in insect protection and prevent further extermination."


For German farmers, the package may go too far. "We know that there must be changes towards more animal welfare and insect protection, but this package is toxic for farmers," complained Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers' Association (DBV).


With regard to animal welfare, the German government also agreed to regulate the framework conditions for a label that would enable consumers "to recognize pork from better husbandry." Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner described it as "an offer to livestock farmers and consumers" that would provide more clarity.


Reinhild Benning from Germanwatch does not expect the animal welfare label to change much. She told Xinhua...