It’s about more space for pigs and poultry, more clarity for consumers – and a reliable system so that farmers are not left with the additional costs alone. The industry is now under pressure.

The farmers’ association demands clarity about secured financing for the planned conversion to more animal welfare in the stables.

“If you are serious about the further development of more animal welfare-friendly attitudes, then you have to take this step,” said Farmer President Joachim Rukwied of the German Press Agency. “It needs state co-financing and investment support. But it also needs a surcharge at the counter. We have to do both.” The financing must now be initiated, said Rukwied. “The coalition has a duty there.”

Increased VAT rate or “animal welfare tax”

The SPD, Greens and FDP have been discussing funding for weeks so that farmers are not left with the sole burden of converting barns and additional work. According to the recommendations of a commission of experts, a higher VAT rate or an “animal welfare tax” on animal products are under discussion. A surcharge of 40 cents per kilogram of meat would be conceivable. However, the FDP recently made it clear that it rejects price premiums for consumers in view of the high inflation.

Rukwied said: “If we want to keep animal husbandry in Germany as demanded by society with more animal welfare, then funding from the public sector is essential. Otherwise the conversion cannot succeed and animal husbandry would migrate abroad.” The one billion euros now planned in the federal budget are a start. “All in all, that’s not enough.”

key points on Tuesday

The financing system is part of a planned mandatory animal husbandry labeling agreed in the coalition agreement. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to present key points for this Tuesday. The labeling is expected to be launched later this year. You should start with pork first.

Rukwied said: “It is also important to integrate existing successful systems such as the Animal Welfare Initiative and to build on what you already have with the state husbandry labeling.” Participating farmers receive price surcharges for additional animal welfare requirements through the initiative, which is supported by agriculture, the meat industry and trade. As early as 2019, the large supermarket chains started uniform labeling for meat and sausages with the imprint “Hungary Form”, which has four levels.

At the same time, the farmers’ association is pushing for a label of origin. If a decision at EU level is expected by the end of the year, one can wait and see. “But if that’s not the case, we’ll have to get national labeling of attitude and origin on the way,” said Rukwied. Consumers should be able to identify where products come from. “It’s part of transparency. How else are you supposed to be able to make a targeted decision for local regional goods?»