Slow Food believes that animals used for food should be given a life free of pain and fear in which they are free to express their natural behaviors.
Each year the welfare of billions of animals raised for their meat, milk and eggs for human consumption is seriously compromised. Animal farming throughout the world has become increasingly intensive, where maximum production and profits are prioritized, and animals are treated as commodities.
As the consumption of animal products continues to increase, it has become necessary to confront these problems in order to safeguard the health of citizens and the environment, and guarantee that small-scale farmers can thrive in their activities while ensuring that the welfare of animals is respected.
Animals are sentient beings – they can suffer pain and distress or be happy and enjoy life. We therefore have a responsibility to ensure they are kept in humane farming systems, allowed to live a life free from pain and mental distress and able to express their natural behaviors, and are slaughtered humanely.
Slow Food believes that the way we treat farm animals is intricately linked to our general wellbeing and that of the planet.
- Animal welfare is of crucial importance to the approximately 1 billion people (FAO) that depend on animals as a source of income and food: A secure supply of food depends on the health and productivity of animals, which in turn depend on the care and nutrition these animals receive.
- Factory farms reduce animals to mere machines, subject to confinement and mutilations. These conditions make animals more prone to diseases and as a result, they are routinely injected with vaccines and antibiotics. This extensive use of antibiotics poses a risk to those who consume their meat and contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: a growing public health concern.
Making animal welfare a priority is an added value for both small- and large-scale farmers. Providing good living conditions for animals results in better health and less stress for the animals, and subsequently fewer diseases and a reduced use of drugs, lower production costs and improved product quality in terms of both taste and nutrition.
Find out more about our position on the issue: Slow Food Policy Paper on Animal Welfare.