An animal welfare charity has launched a campaign urging the UK Government to 'introduce compulsory method of production labeling on all meat and dairy products'.
According to Compassion In World Farming (CIWF), there are currently no labelling laws in place to show how animals farmed for meat and dairy were reared - leaving consumers misled about the low welfare standards behind most of these products.
The charity adds: "Labels on intensively reared products frequently display misleading images of rolling landscapes and happy animals. This suggests that these animals have been farmed outdoors, when in reality they are crammed into barren cages, kept indoors all their lives, or kept in such close confinement, that they are unable to express their natural behaviours."
70% of animals are factory farmed
CIWF's Director of Campaigns, Emma Slawinski, says: "The truth about intensively farmed meat and dairy products isn’t advertised on food labels because it’s extremely hard to swallow.
More than 70 percent of the animals raised in the UK each year are factory farmed but these inhumane farming practices are hidden behind closed doors, out of public view. When you think about it, it’s obvious. The truth about factory farming isn't advertised on food labels because it’s an unsavoury one.
"We need a clear labelling law, like that which currently exists for eggs, extended to all meat and dairy products. This would allow animal welfare to be part of consumers’ shopping decisions."
As part of the campaign, CIWF has launched a petition, calling on the Government to introduce honest labelling for all meat and dairy products. It says: "Despite the terrible cruelty of intensive farming, right now there is no legal requirement for labelling to indicate how animals farmed for meat and dairy are reared.
"This means we have a haphazard mishmash with some products having voluntary labels, some having no information and some carrying labels or images which are downright misleading.
"A factory farmed sausage labelled ‘all natural’ and ‘farm fresh’, with packaging showing green fields and trees, is still a factory farmed sausage. But how could an average consumer make an informed decision to avoid it? The UK Government has expressed interest in better labelling, but time is running out to turn this interest into action."