Large White free-range sow with piglets© Richard Becker/FLPA / imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

The introduction of food labels that prove the quality of a farm animal’s life and death would give British farmers a unique selling point for their meat and dairy products post-Brexit, according to the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

The BVA has backed a campaign called Labelling Matters, which is calling for mandatory  production method labelling for meat and dairy products.

It claims this would help consumers across the UK to answer the simple questions “How was this animal kept?” and “Did this animal die a humane death?”.

See also: BVA concern over lack of commitment to pre-slaughter stunning

The BVA said legislation for mandatory production method labelling had been implemented already for eggs, which must legally be labelled either as “eggs from caged hens”, “barn eggs”, “free-range” or “organic”.

It therefore made sense for this principle to be extended to meat and dairy products from other farmed animals.

Any label would require animals to be stunned before slaughter, which ties in with the BVA’s campaign to end non-stun slaughter methods.

BVA president Sean Wensley said: “Mandatory production method labelling makes sense on a number of fronts: consumers can be clearly and consistently informed about how the animals reared for their meat and dairy products were kept, with on-farm welfare assessments assuring high standards.

“It would also give unambiguous information to the high numbers of consumers who care about animal welfare when buying meat and dairy products and help ensure market support for British farmers, who pride themselves on achieving the highest welfare standards.”

The Labelling Matters campaign is backed by Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association, RSPCA and the Eurogroup for Animals.