Danes seem to have taken to the new animal welfare certification system, Dyrevelfærdsmærket, which assesses how supermarket pork is produced and gives it a seal of approval ranging from one to three hearts, depending on how the animals are raised.
The environment and food minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, is so pleased with the scheme that he wants to extend it to cover chickens.
Taking it to heart
“It’s good to see the system has grown so much in just one year. It shows that Danes do care about animal welfare when they buy food – and they have knowledge and confidence in the market,” said Ellemann-Jensen.
The ministry is already in dialogue with Danish poultry producers, shops and animal welfare organisations with the aim of defining the necessary parameters for chicken farms and poultry sheds in order to implement the scheme.
If everything goes according to plan, the first animal welfare-marked chicken could be in the shops in the autumn.
The new breed
To qualify for at least one heart, poultry producers will have to choose breeds that grow slowly, and the birds will need to have more room than many do now and be transported shorter distances to abattoirs.
In order to attain two hearts, in addition to the minimum requirements there will need to be access to fresh air and more roughage in the feed, together with rooting and nesting materials.
Three hearts will require even more space, attractive outdoor facilities for the birds and an improvement in the environment in which they grow up, which includes a better diet and rooting and nesting materials.