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Organic Denmark

Better animal welfare for chickens

In Denmark, there is a high focus on animal welfare to ensure good conditions for the animals and greater end products. A label with one, two or three hearts shows the lining conditions of the chicken before it ends up in the supermarket.

One year ago the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food decided to raise awareness of animal welfare among pigs, by introducing a Animal Welfare Label to indicate among other things space, feed and fresh air. After only one year with the Animal Welfare Label, every fourth pack of Danish pork in the stores is now labeled with one, two or three hearts.

The Danish Minister of Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen welcomes the growing focus on animal welfare, and will now expand the labeling scheme so that it can include the chicken producers who also want to lift the welfare of their animals.

“It’s good to see the system has grown so much in just one year. It shows that Danes have knowledge, and that the care about animal welfare when they buy food,” said Ellemann-Jensen.

The ministry is already in dialogue with Danish poultry producers, shops and animal welfare organizations with the aim of defining the necessary parameters for chicken farms and poultry sheds in order to implement the scheme. If everything goes according to the plan, the first animal welfare-labeled chicken could be in the shops in the autumn.

The animal welfare label requires

To qualify for at least one heart, poultry producers will have to choose breeds that grow slowly, and the birds will need to have more  space and be transported in shorter distances to slaughterhouses.

In order to attain two hearts, in addition to the minimum requirements there will need to be access to fresh air and more roughage in the feed, together with rooting and nesting materials.

Three hearts will require even more space, attractive outdoor facilities for the birds and an improvement in the environment in which they grow up, which includes a better diet and rooting and nesting materials.

Source: Fødevarefokus