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Photo: Danish Veterinary and Food Administration

Green hearts on steaks and dairy products

It started with pork, then chicken, and now from 2020 consumers will be able to buy veal, beef and dairy products carrying the government-controlled welfare label. As one of the partners behind the label, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council welcomes the initiative.

Consumers can now make their feelings known when they enjoy a Danish steak.

The Danish Food Minister, Mogens Jensen has decided that the government-controlled animal welfare label will be expanded. From next year, consumers will be able to buy dairy products carrying the government-controlled welfare label featuring one, two or three green hearts, with the same applying to steaks and minced meat. Anne Arhnung, CEO, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, applauds the minister for having expanded the welfare label.

"The animal welfare label is already well known and widely used by Danish consumers. We know from previous surveys that 71 per cent of consumers attach great importance to animal welfare. The label makes it easier to buy beef and dairy products produced from cattle bred with higher welfare standards. I hope, therefore, that consumers will fully support the hearts on milk, yoghurt, steaks and minced meat when they add these items to their shopping trolleys,” she says.

The animal welfare label is a collaboration between the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, farmers, food companies, trade and animal welfare organisations, and the retail sector. The welfare label for pork was launched in 2017 and for chicken in 2018.

Read also: The Danish government-controlled animal welfare label

The animal welfare label is a three-tiered, heart-based system: the more hearts the higher the welfare standard. The label offers consumers greater transparency and greater influence on production.

Although imposing higher welfare requirements on farmers comes at a cost, the animal welfare label enables farmers to be rewarded for their work in this area.

"We already have a high standard of animal welfare in cattle production, but we know that many farmers want to do even more to improve the welfare standards of their animals. I hope that consumers’ willingness to pay will give many producers the opportunity to produce for the ʼheart marketʼ and win the recognition that comes from investing time and money in additional animal welfare,” says Ida Storm, Sector Director, Cattle.