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This coming year is the first for the new German government in power. And with its arrival comes a host of renewed commitments to animal welfare and the environment.
With the aim of improving the treatment of animals in the food system, the European country plans to introduce mandatory animal welfare labels on meat products.
In addition, the government is committed to improving the sustainability of its agriculture and food industries, including focusing on plant-based meat substitutes.
The new German government
The Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) united in a coalition to form the new government. Together, they are committed to developing farming methods that do “justice to the environment, animals and the climate”.
“We have different traditions and perspectives, but we are united by a desire to take common responsibility for the future of Germany, the goal of advancing the necessary modernization, the awareness that this progress must also take place. ‘accompanied by a promise of security, and the confidence that together we can succeed,’ says the coalition agreement.
“We are committed to serving the well-being of all citizens. “
The new mandatory “breeding” labels in Germany will include information on “full origin”. This includes the treatment of animals during transport and slaughter.
An education campaign will accompany the new label policy, although it is not yet clear what it will entail.
The government says it wants to help farmers update their practices “in a species-appropriate manner.”
The use of antibiotics will be monitored and actively reduced, and the transport of live farm animals to third countries outside the EU will be banned. The exception to this rule will be if the routes have “proven animal welfare friendly supply facilities”.
The parties will also present a roadmap to reduce animal testing, including research and development of animal-free alternatives.
In addition, the government says it supports an EU-wide ban on keeping and breeding fur animals.
Nutrition and diet
The German government plans to develop a national food strategy by 2023 that will focus on healthier foods. “We will strengthen plant-based alternatives and advocate the approval of innovations such as alternative protein sources and meat substitutes in the EU,” he adds.
This matches recent food trends across the country. In May, it was reported that meat production had declined in 2020, dropping 4% from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the German plant-based meat industry continued to climb, producing almost 39% more meat substitutes than the previous year.
Advertising of foods high in salt, fat or sugar to children under the age of 14 will no longer be allowed from next year. And the government promises to develop “scientifically valid reduction targets” for salt, fat and sugar. These will be personalized to meet specific target groups, he says.
The country is also moving towards organic food. By the end of the decade, Germany intends to do 30 percent of its agriculture organic. This is up from the EU’s 25% target.
Additional financial support will be offered to farmers for the transition to organic farming practices.
The accord also notes that achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement is the coalition’s “top priority”. It highlights deforestation, biodiversity loss, poaching and species extinction as key points.
This ties in with the new government’s goal of “drastically reducing” emissions, namely methane and ammonia. She hopes to achieve climate neutrality by mid-century.
“Sustainable agriculture serves the interests of farms, animal welfare and nature at the same time, and forms the basis of healthy diets,” the agreement says.