According to the will of the traffic light coalition, animal husbandry should be made more life-friendly for animals. That also causes costs. There is now a dispute over the question of funding.

In the traffic light coalition, the fronts are hardening when it comes to financing the planned conversion of animal husbandry towards higher standards.

“There must be no further burden on consumers, neither through VAT nor through a levy,” said FDP parliamentary group leader Carina Konrad of the editorial network Germany (Thursday). “It doesn’t fit into a time when prices are rising sharply everywhere.” Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to present the cornerstones of a planned state animal husbandry labeling for meat next Tuesday.

SPD faction deputy Matthias Miersch said on Thursday in the Bundestag that the question of financing is actually controversial at the moment. But this is part of planning security if you expect higher standards in animal husbandry. Farmers cannot be left alone with this. “I am sure that we will do it in this traffic light coalition.” According to the recommendations of a commission of experts, a higher VAT rate or a tax on animal products are under discussion. A surcharge of 40 cents per kilogram of meat would be conceivable.

Investing in more animal welfare

FDP parliamentary group vice-president Konrad said that the additional one billion euros planned for barn conversions are a good basis for the first time. “Not all stables will be rebuilt in the first year.” Criticism came from environmental and animal rights activists. The conversion of animal husbandry is an investment in more animal welfare as well as in climate and environmental protection, explained the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND). “If the FDP continues to oppose a reliable financing system, it will block the future of thousands of farmers.” The German Animal Welfare Association called the FDP’s idea that the market should finance it alone naive.

The financing is part of the mandatory postage labeling that is agreed in the coalition agreement. Özdemir wants to launch it this year. The first step is to start with pork. Konrad said about the preparations for the labeling: “The label must not fail due to moral overload such as insisting on an organic level.” This would mean that even more livestock farms that were just hoping for good framework conditions would give up. There are also conventional farmers who keep animals even better than organic farms.

In the budget debate in the Bundestag, Özdemir did not comment on the labeling and financing. In view of the tense markets caused by the Ukraine war, he again called for a further change towards more sustainable production. “Our policy must ensure food and at the same time serve to preserve the farms.” It is important to protect the climate, soil and biodiversity.