The Governmental animal welfare label

Introduction to the label

LogoThe governmental animal welfare label, aptly named "Better Animal Welfare" (in danish: ”Bedre Dyrevelfærd”), was created in 2017 with the intention of improving animal welfare for as many production animals as possible. The label was developed by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the commercial food chain and is based on market driven principles.

The label has stricter animal welfare requirements than Danish and EU legislations and it is voluntary to sign up for the label. The label makes it attractive for livestock producers to invest in animal welfare improvements. The label enables retailers to accommodate to consumer demands for better animal welfare. There are no economic subsidies connected to the label. 

The label can be placed on pork and chicken meat, veal, and beef, as well as milk and other bovine dairy products. 

The animal welfare label is recognizable and makes it easy for consumers to identify the products that meet the requirements for better animal welfare. By buying these products, consumers help ensure that animals are produced under conditions that focus on better welfare, thereby supporting the market driven principle. Livestock producers, retail businesses, and food-service companies, such as canteens, can use the label for marketing and promotional purposes after registration. 

Consumer awareness and confidence

Graph: Consumer awareness of the "Better Animal Welfare" label and consumer confidence in the label. Generated from YouGov questionnaire surveys.

A staircase modelLogo

The label is constructed as a staircase-model with three different levels with one, two, or three green hearts. One heart corresponds to Level 1 and the animal welfare requirements for this level are stricter than Danish and EU legislations. Level 2 and 3 (2 and 3 hearts, respectively) have increasingly stricter animal welfare requirements. Stricter animal welfare requirements cause higher costs for the producer and raised prices for the consumer, but the staircase-model ensures that different consumer preferences and budgets can be met, thereby ensuring better animal welfare for as many animals as possible. 

The label also functions as an umbrella label; it can be used to indicate the degree of animal welfare in other labels, such as the Danish governmental organic label. 
 

Who is behind the label 

The label was developed by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration in collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the entire commercial food chain. The collaboration is organized as a private-public partnership, which continuously assesses and develops the label and related activities. 

The members of the partnership are: the Organisation for Cooperation of Animal Welfare Groups (DOSO), the Danish Veterinary Association, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, the Danish Dairy Board, The Danish Food and Drink Federation (DI Fødevarer), DanHatch, Arla, Danish Crown, Danpo, Tulip, Naturmælk, Rokkedahl, and Danske Slagtermestre (the Danish butchers association), as well as retail businesses: the Salling Group (Bilka, Føtex and Netto), De Samvirkende Købmænd (including MENY, Rema1000, KIWI, Spar), Lidl, and Aldi.

Control

Products sold under the label are subject to annual state control and state authorized control. This includes control of all herds produced under the label and control of all animals at slaughterhouses. Hatcheries, farmers, companies, and retail and foodservice businesses must have their own control program that ensures and documents traceability and separation of labeled products from other products. The control programs are also subject to state control. 

Livestock producers must register for the label and may be subject to a start-up control visit before being allowed to sell products with the label. Annual control visits may cost a fee that the livestock producer is obligated to pay. 

Links to Order on the voluntary animal welfare label

Order on the voluntary animal welfare labelling scheme (Danish)
Order on the voluntary animal welfare labelling scheme (EU)

 

The criterions for animals under the animal welfare label

 

 

kolonneoverskrift - Et hjerte

Kolonneoverskrift - to hjerter

Kolonneoverskrift - 3 hjerter


Ikon af gris


More space

More straw

No tail docking

Improved sow housing

Shorter transportation time


+

Even more space

Even more straw

Free-range sows (barns)


+

Much more space

Much more straw

Piglets and sows
in free-range field

Outdoor space


Ikon af kylling


Slow growing breed

More space

Extra focus on footpad health

Shorter transportation time


+

Even more space

Enrichment through coarse feed

or manipulable materials


+

Much more space

Enrichment through coarse feed and manipulable materials

Outdoor space with vegetation

Ikon af ko


Demands on the quality of housing

Calves together

Shorter transportation time


+

Even better quality of housing

Dairy cattle access to pasture


+

Improved quality of housing

More space for dairy
cattle
in barns

Access to pasture