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Every fourth animal product is obtained from a sick animal
Food with animal-based ingredients is widespread, but these often come from sick animals, according to the latest message from the consumer protection organization Foodwatch. At least one in four animal products was obtained from sick animals, reports Foodwatch. The products of sick animals are regularly offered as "healthy" foods.
Many people pay attention to their diet and focus on healthy foods. A waiver of animal ingredients in the form of a vegan diet is still the exception to this day. However, animal products are often obtained from sick animals. "They buy milk from cows with inflamed udders and eggs from chickens with broken bones," said Foodwatch. Consumers would have to assume that a significant proportion of the animal product comes from a sick animal. This is not apparent when shopping.
Every tenth liter of milk comes from an inflamed udder
According to the consumer protection organization, for example, "at least every second milk cow experiences husbandry-related diseases once a year, which are largely avoidable." For example, around every tenth liter of milk comes from a cow with an inflamed udder. In pigs, slaughterhouse findings showed that about every second animal suffered from husbandry-related diseases and, statistically, at least every fourth processed chicken had previously been a sick rooster. According to Foodwatch, four out of ten eggs come from a hen with broken bones. Given the inconsistent data, the evaluated studies can only be roughly summarized, but as a rule of thumb consumers have to assume that every fourth animal product comes from a sick animal, reports Foodwatch.
No significant difference in organic farming
Regarding the clinical pictures of the animals, the consumer protection organization explains that dairy cows regularly suffer from lameness, fertility and metabolism disorders and udder infections. According to studies, chronic joint diseases and organ changes are the most common clinical pictures in pigs. "Chickens are diagnosed with numerous symptoms such as joint disease, sternum damage, broken bones, fallopian tube inflammation, worm infections and changes in the balls of the feet," reports Foodwatch. There are also no significant differences between conventional and organic farming, between small farms and large farms. "Above all, the quality of the farm management is decisive for the health of the animals," concludes the consumer advocates.
Wrong incentives in the system
However, according to Foodwatch, the fundamental error lies in the system, which sets the wrong incentives. "Above all, retail is responsible for a competition that is not about quality, but only about price - that can only be at the expense of animals, farmers and ultimately also customers," says Matthias Wolfschmidt, veterinarian and campaign manager at Foodwatch. So far, when it comes to animal husbandry, only formal criteria such as space requirements or the design of the stables have been discussed, but this is far too short. The fact that the majority of farm animals suffer from massive symptoms of illness is kept secret and nothing is done about it for cost reasons. Because even sick animals can still get food.
Solution approaches clearly defined
In its current communication, Foodwatch also refers to the possible solutions that Matthias Wolfschmidt presents in the new book “The Pig System”. These include, for example, legal requirements for animal-friendly husbandry in all farm animals or the recording of the occurrence of husbandry-related diseases for each farm with subsequent derivation of binding targets that are based on the best farms in the industry. Only products with animal components that can be proven to comply with animal welfare standards are likely to come onto the market. Last but not least, such a “concept must be implemented across the EU, combined with a ban on marketing non-animal-friendly food from third countries,” explains Wolfschmidt.
Higher food prices required
"If we keep animals for the production of food, we owe all of them the best possible circumstances," emphasizes the Foodwatch expert. Neither niche productions, animal welfare labels or 0-1-2-3 labels are therefore the solution, "but only clear legal requirements and corresponding remuneration for animal welfare services by farmers." To establish the standards mentioned, retail and the food industry would have to However, animal owners receive better pay, which would ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers. "But if you really want to improve the life of hundreds of thousands of sick animals, you have to pay this price," Wolfschmidt concluded. (fp)