It is about more space for pigs and poultry, more transparency for consumers and a reliable system so that farmers are not forced to pay extra costs. The industry is under pressure now.
The Farmers’ Association demands clarity on the secured funding for the planned transition to improved animal welfare in the stables.
“If you are serious about further developing a more welfare-friendly approach, you must take this step,” said Farmer CEO Joachim Rukwied of the German Press Agency. “I need state funding and investment support. But it also needs an extra price at the cash register. We have to do both. Funding must begin, Rukwied said. “The coalition has a duty there.”
The SPD, the Greens and the FDP have been discussing financing for weeks so that farmers are not left with the costs of remodeling the barns and additional labor. As recommended by the expert committee, a higher rate of VAT or “animal welfare tax” on animal products is under discussion. One can imagine a surcharge of 40 cents per kilogram of meat. However, the FDP has recently made it clear that it is rejecting consumer price bonuses due to high inflation.
State aid “necessary”
Rukwied said: “If we want to maintain animal husbandry in Germany with greater animal welfare, as is demanded by the public, funding from the public sector is essential. The billion euro planned in the federal budget is the beginning. “It’s actually not enough.”
The funding system is part of the planned compulsory animal husbandry labeling agreed in the coalition agreement. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to present the key points for this Tuesday. Labeling is expected to be introduced later this year. First, you should start with pork.
Özdemir promotes the financial security of farmers. “I can’t tell farmers that they should buy back the costs overnight for more species-appropriate livestock farming and better climate protection,” Welt am Sonntag said. This would hasten the deaths of the farms, and nobody could want that. “I want good meat from Germany to continue to be available in the future.”
Everyone actually agrees that investment in sustainable livestock farming is needed – and that is what he is fighting for, said Özdemir. Farmers deserve planning security. When it comes to funding, the proposals are on the table – and he has key players on his side. “I’m confident because everyone knows what’s at stake,” he said.
Agricultural policy spokesman for the parliamentary group FDP Gero Hocker warned that farmers needed reliable framework conditions instead of “promises of financing that can be realized after just a few years”. According to Hocker, farmers do not think for years, but for generations. “Luring them into new financial ventures with uncertain promises is dubious and gives agriculture even greater political influence and a distraction from science and research. We will not take this path. “
Rukwied said: “It is also important that existing effective systems, such as the Animal Welfare Initiative, are integrated and that the national livestock label builds on what you already have.” Participating farmers receive a subsidy to additional animal welfare requirements through an initiative supported by agriculture, the meat industry and trade. Already in 2019, large supermarket chains began uniform labeling of meat and cold cuts with the imprint “Hungry Form”, which has four levels.
Pig farming in “the greatest crisis in decades”
Rukwied told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that politicians had to show perspective to suffering pig farmers in particular, which had been in “the greatest crisis in decades”. Falling pig prices are offset by increasing expenditure on feed and energy. “If we want to maintain and improve pig farming in Germany, the federal government has to start this year. Every month lost means a lot of closed piggies. “
At the same time, the farmers’ association is pushing for origin labeling. If a decision at EU level is expected by the end of the year, you can wait and see. “But if this is not the case, we will have to introduce breeding and parentage identification at the national level,” said Rukwied dpa. Consumers should be able to identify where the products are coming from. “It’s part of the transparency. How else would you be able to make a targeted decision about local regional products? ” (dpa)