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Statement on labelling consultation announced in Secretary of State speech

Statement on labelling consultation announced in Secretary of State speech

"We welcome the news that the UK Government is set to launch a rapid consultation into clearer food labelling after previous plans to do so were shelved. We have been campaigning for greater transparency on animal products for some time to give consumers an informed choice about the products they buy.

"Clearer labelling on food imported from abroad, and especially those that don’t meet our UK welfare standards, could be a lifeline to British farmers who are at risk of being undercut by cheap, low welfare imports flooding our shelves through free trade agreements. We also urge the UK Government to not only consult on providing clear labelling for domestic and/or higher welfare products but also transparent methods of production labelling across the board to give consumers information about how the animals have been cared for.

"Currently, there is little information available to consumers to show them how farm animals have been reared. Instead, the public can be shown images of rolling green hills and animals in the sunshine which can be incredibly misleading and not reflective of reality in many cases. This is especially true of intensive farming practices which still account for around 70% of all land farming in the UK.

"A recent RSPCA survey revealed that more than four out of five people (81%) think having a level of knowledge about the condition the animals have been reared and kept in is important when purchasing products, and 79% of people believe that they can improve animal welfare through their purchasing habits.

"We welcome the commitment to bring in labelling on processed food as well as primary products and to update our procurement standards to encourage higher welfare food can be served in our prisons and schools. We now look forward to working with the UK Government to agree clearer welfare labelling rules on food products this year - and ensuring these proposals become a reality. In the meantime, those concerned about this issue can always look for the RSPCA Assured label in their local supermarket - the RSPCA's higher welfare farm assurance scheme."