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Animal Welfare: Where Are We At?

Italy - 07/08/2013

Thinking about the welfare of the animals whose products we eat—what they eat, where they live, their living space and their overall living conditions—is now inevitable. Particularly for those who, like Slow Food, consider the quality of food from a holistic perspective: from how it tastes to its environmental or social impact to its cultural value. For this reason, we have recently launched two surveys to receive feedback from Slow Food members and Presidia producers and to try to understand where the movement stands on the subject.

The first survey, reserved for European Slow Food members and reaching around 60,000 people, will be an important way to understand meat consumption habits, show how aware consumers are of the problem and how willing they are to change their food purchases in favor of products that adhere to labeling schemes certifying high welfare standards. We will be asking members what they think Slow Food’s involvement in the issue should be, and the results will be used to help us to guide our future activities and projects on the topic.

The second survey is instead aimed at producers who belong to European Slow Food Presidia, projects that group together producers to protect at-risk quality foods. It aims to reveal the status quo of animal welfare in Presidia productions. What problems are farmers facing when it comes to implementing animal welfare legislation? What measures are in place on their farms for the health and well-being of their animals? What positive aspects already exist and where do we need to improve? The results will guide our activities and help us identify how we can work together with the producers to improve animal welfare in Presidia.

The surveys follow on from Slow Food’s activities over the past year. We have started to take an active role on the issue by teaming up with animal protection organizations and institutions working on animal welfare, publishing a guide to meat consumption and bringing experts and farmers together to discuss the issue at conferences, reflecting the growing attention amongst politicians, European institutions, public opinion and consumers.

At Cheese next month in Bra, Italy, we will find out the results of the surveys. Join us on Friday September 20 at 2pm in Piazza XX Settembre at the conference “Who Cares about Animal Welfare?” If you wont be joining us at Cheese, keep a look out for the results on the Slow Food website.

Jacopo Ghione and Anne Marie Matarrese

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