Berlin (dpa) – Cem Özdemir is a vegetarian – but the Minister of Agriculture does not want to spoil Germany’s meat consumption. – I want good meat from Germany on our tables tomorrow – assures the politician of the Greens.
However, in his opinion, animal husbandry in Germany has a future only if it is geared towards climate protection and animal welfare. After several unsuccessful attempts, Özdemir therefore makes a new attempt to equip meat products in Germany with the obligatory state animal husbandry label.
The cornerstones presented by him provide for a five-step model. This should enable consumers to see how much space the animals had during fattening and how comfortable their stalls were. In the case of a “stable” form of residence, only the minimum legal requirements are met. With “Stall + Platz” animals have 20% more space, “Fresh air stables” are open on at least one side, in “Auslauf / Freiland” animals can go outside for at least eight hours a day, and “Bio Kennel” “Means larger areas to work out and even more space in the barn.
The bill should reach the Bundestag before the end of the year
Özdemir would like to coordinate the bill with other ministries before the summer break, so that it will go to the Bundestag before the end of the year. Posture marking is to be introduced within the next year. It will then become compulsory for foodstuffs of animal origin that are sold in Germany and for which animals have been kept in Germany. However, the labeling obligation initially only applies to fresh pork. Other products will come later.
Financing of the conversion of the barn and supplementary costs
The SPD, the Greens and the FDP have already agreed in the coalition agreement to introduce a state animal breeding label. However, the traffic light alliance argues over the question of how farmers can be supported through stable conversion and follow-up costs. The federal budget plans to finance start-ups in the amount of one billion euros until 2026. “That’s a good start, but it’s not enough,” admitted Özdemir. There is a need to clarify the additional funding in the coalition.
The expert committee has developed proposals such as higher VAT or an “animal welfare tax” on animal products. One can imagine a surcharge of 40 cents per kilogram of meat. However, the FDP made it clear that it was rejecting such price increases – especially in the face of inflation. Without accepting any of the suggestions, Özdemir pointed out that there are different financing models. “If you say no to everyone, you will also refuse to raise animals in Germany.” Green Party leader Ricarda Lang is pushing for a quick agreement in the coalition.
Lots of criticism and opposition
Troubles threaten not only the traffic light alliance. The opposition has been paying attention to the voluntary labeling of pork, beef and poultry in supermarkets for years. Therefore, the AfD considers the project redundant. In contrast, the German Farmers’ Association talks about an important first step, but sees significant shortcomings: without a binding timetable for the inclusion of beef and poultry, there would be no “steering effect,” warned farmers president Joachim Rukwied.
The planned label does not go far enough for environmental and animal rights activists. “A seal that looks only at the form of breeding is misleading and hides key issues,” said Annemarie Botzki of the Foodwatch consumer organization. Animal husbandry in its current form causes animals to be chronically ill. Greenpeace agricultural expert Martin Hofstetter complained: “Aspects such as transport, slaughter and animal health are not taken into account at all.”
And from the FDP coalition partner, the criticism concerns not only financing, but also the design of breeding forms. – Contrary to the minister’s announcements, there is no agreement on specific issues, but rather numerous open points – emphasized Gero Hocker, spokesman for the agricultural policy of the FDP parliamentary group. But Özdemir leaves no doubt that the plan will pass through the government and Bundestag in the coming months. – We waited long enough in Germany – emphasized the minister. “Signage is coming.”
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