Plant-based Foods and Animal Welfare

Plant-based diets have to be part of any substantial animal welfare policy plan, be it at European, Member State or regional level.

The EVU was asked to contribute to a study commissioned by the European Commission on the establishment of animal welfare policy indicators.

In its response, the EVU accentuated that a whole aspect was missing in the proposed set of indicators: policies to increase the consumption of plant-based foods.

Animal welfare policies aim to reduce the harm inflicted on farmed animals. Not to breed, fatten and slaughter animals is the most effective way to spare them harm. One way to reduce the number of animals reared and used for human consumption is to reduce the consumption of animal products. According purchase decisions contribute to an increase in animal welfare. Hence, one important and effective aspect of animal welfare policies should be to reduce the amount of animal products consumed.

The EVU, therefore, encourages the European Commission to include animal welfare indicators such as
– Public information on the advantages of plant-based food for animal welfare.
– Promotion of plant-based lifestyles to the general public.
– Availability of plant-based dishes in public canteens, hospitals, schools etc.
– Funding programmes for research, development and marketing of plant-based alternatives to animal products.
– Etc.

In general, these aspects have to be part of any substantial animal welfare policy plan, be it at European, Member State or regional level.