Animal Welfare According To Slow Food
Each year the welfare of millions of animals raised for their meat, milk and eggs for human consumption is often seriously compromised. The industrial approach, which has transformed the rearing of animals into “zootechnics,” the science of exploiting animal production, and the farmer into an “agricultural entrepreneur,” has transferred the industrial principles of economies of scale and mechanization to this sector.
The current system poses a great threat to the livelihood of small-scale farmers who cannot keep up with the competition of big producers and the low prices of industrial meat production. Moreover, the relationship between farmers and their livestock, developed over thousands of years, has been thrown completely out of balance.
This transformation has had a drastic influence on the wellbeing of animals, which we know to be sentient beings, able to feel emotions, suffering, and stress. The conditions in which farmed animals are forced to live have serious repercussions: New diseases that can be transmitted to humans are developing, the overuse of antibiotics is leading to increased resistance among bacteria, and massive amounts of animal excrement are a source of pollution that affects the planet’s climate.
In general, Slow Food stresss that it is necessary to introduce measures that take animal welfare into consideration by supporting farmers who voluntarily choose to improve their standards beyond those required by national laws. Slow Food will furthermore strive for the full recognition of animal welfare as an element in future strategies on the sustainability of the food system.
At the EU level, Slow Food is convinced that greater coherence on food policies is needed and, in this respect, hopes that the Common Agricultural Policy measures on animal welfare will provide real support to farmers.