Federal Minister of Economics Christian Schmidt wants to present his animal welfare seal at the opening of the Green Week. Only a state label could inform the consumer objectively and reliably about the conditions of the attitude, said the CSU politician in the DLF. He did not want to wait for a binding European regulation.
TierWohl Siegel Christian Schmidt I want to be a trendsetter.
Thus Schmidt rejected demands for a change of law for more animal welfare.This would only be feasible at European level and would take years. He wants to be the new trendsetter, says Schmidt.
At the same time, he promised that shredding male chicks would soon be banned. With several million euro, he had promoted the development of a technical possibility that would make this practice unnecessary. Shredding is prohibited if the necessary equipment is available. This is only a short period.
The interview in full length:
Christiane Kaess: Accompanied by debates on more animal welfare will be opened today in Berlin agricultural exhibition “Green Week”. Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt of the CSU will give the starting shot to the 10-day show of agriculture, food industry and horticulture in the evening. By January 29, 400,000 visitors are expected. Today, the seal for animal welfare is under discussion, the Federal Minister of Economics Christian Schmidt there.
The Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, of the CSU, has also been part of the project. Good morning, Mr. Schmidt.
Christian Schmidt: Good morning, Mrs. Kaess.
Kaess: Your critics say you sat next to an industrial polluting agribusiness, although long would switch to lower sustainable alternatives. Is the Tierwohl seal now an attempt to counter this impression?
Schmidt: No. This is a consistent continuation of what I have been striving for years. This means that we have to implement the sustainability and the better standards in the production, but not through bans that ultimately lead to the end of production, at any rate in Germany, and this production can be re-established somewhere else, but without any intervention and influence To the quality of the production can be made.
Kaess: And these standards of animal welfare labels that are significantly above the statutory requirements. But the whole is based on voluntariness. Why should farmers be involved?
Schmidt: They should join because they take advantage of it in a two-tone. Firstly, the production, the conversion in the investment at this stage can also be promoted, that it with a government label – Mr Müller from the consumer centers already has already pointed out – that the state label of me then is objective, neutral And is reliable and thus also achieves a high penetration in the market. That can not be another placard or something. This is a quality seal.
The second is that then a higher price can be achieved. Of course, the nearly 80 percent of consumers, who say according to my surveys, are willing to pay more, these are the first facts that have to be realized at the checkout. That is why it has to be attractive and transparent. The piece of meat, the product that the consumer acquires, must have come into existence under these conditions, which are also checked and transparent, and that can only guarantee a state seal.
Kaess: Mr. Schmidt, because you are now speaking of the benefits. But there are also the disadvantages. There are times more costs to keep the animal. The meat is then sold more expensive. You do not even know whether the consumer is willing to pay. Organizations like Foodwatch or the Veterinary Association estimate that only 20 percent of the products will receive this Tierwohl seal. That is, 80 percent of the animals will continue to live in poorer conditions.
Schmidt: No. I go there very much from a co-operation with. I am assuming that the current initiative, which has already been named, is about a general performance of food retailing to improve the standards, which are the good approaches that we can achieve as well as the goal. Of course, the criterion still has to be worked on.
I’m not really concerned. We live in a society that requires the animal owners and expects every day we hear about the need to improve animal welfare conditions, and that is a society that is very enlightened and who also knows that such a thing does not come to the zero tariff . This, however, is, in fact, the point which is not directed at the animal owners, but which is directed at the responsibility and participation of every consumer.
“A legal regulation is not feasible at the German level”
Kaess: And yet, Mr. Schmidt, buy so many cheap meat. Why do not you just make a legal regulation?
Schmidt: A legal regulation is not feasible at the German level. This must take place at European level. I have to say that in complexity. European regulations, which must be launched by the Commission, tend to take a relatively long time. We had the state national eco-label, also a voluntary one, and after eleven years a European, if it is also voluntary, came ecological, but with fixed criteria. I do not want to wait that long. I want to be a trendsetter and I am a bit more optimistic than the one or the other, who is probably somehow wrong with the approach. To regulate is to say, if I regulate, then I must take care that the producer, the farmer, the farmer has the opportunity to invest in his stable, and he can not get the money from heaven, but he has to Already earn.
I am prepared to support the market launch of such quality seals, this seal of quality, by 70 million euros. I have made budgetary precaution. And when I see the retail and the promotion opportunities at the European, national level and my initiative, there is already a good critical mass in the positive.
Kaess: Because now many say on the other hand, one might well also make national law something.
Schmidt: This is simply not correct.
“In the future, it will no longer be allowed to kill chicks”
Kaess: Mr. Smith, let me ask another question yet. We know these images of millions of chicks being shredded by piglets who are slain. We have just heard it again in the post: pigs biting each other bloody from lack of space. Is this animal welfare label also an expression of political helplessness?
Schmidt: Quite the contrary! It is an expression of politically directed influence on this situation. By the way, the killing is another point that I have imagined during this Green Week with a really superidee that has been implemented, namely a highly scientific alternative to the killing of chicks. In the future, then, the rational reason, that is to say, a comical proposition, will be omitted in the animal welfare law. In the future, it will no longer be allowed to kill chicks.
Kaess: That’s a law?
Schmidt: This is already law. Our animal welfare law is far better than we think and see.
Kaess: Why is then shredded?
Schmidt: Because now, at last has come a technical way the University of Leipzig, which I have conveyed with four million euros that we can prevent. But if I make legal regulations alone, I can say that once, and then go the productions abroad, then I have no influence. Now I have the influence with my practical alternative.
I would like to invite you to visit the Green Week. The model is there and it is marketable and capable of launching and so every hatchery, every one of the laying hens produced in Germany, has to stick to it. I am fully with you that we must eliminate this morally and ethically reprehensible practice. Legally, it has been recognized by the courts until today. This will be different in the future. The policy has acted well here!
Kaess: Since I have to ask again. That means, in future no chicks in Germany will be shredded more?
“The entry into the exit is now accomplished”
Schmidt: If the devices are now all at the hatcheries. There will, of course, be a transitional period. But from now on the technology is to order and available and that is, it’s only a very short period of time. That is, the entry into the exit is now accomplished.
Kaess: Let’s go back to the general rules and options for legislation, in terms of consumer standards for meat. With eggs, we have that. Why is that?
Schmidt: For eggs we have a European system of labeling for unprocessed eggs. In the case of meat, we already have a source of origin at European level. I can imagine that in these areas we are still able to add and supplement, for example for the processed meat or origin markings. Only that is European roads and Europe can be good, but it takes a long time. I do not want to wait so long.
“These are penal taxes”
Kaess: To combat the harmful factory farming, there is a proposal of the Federal Environment Agency, said at least a lot more sense appears at first sight as now, for example, your initiative. The Umweltbundesamt wants to prove meat with higher VAT, also because it is climate-damaging. Why do you reject that?
Schmidt: I reject that from because I did not care about punitive taxes and artificial price increases in favor of the esteemed finance minister colleagues.
Kaess: Why are the penalty tax?
Schmidt: That’s punitive taxes, because they are so draufgelegt only deliberately to raise the price. By the way, I agree with my environmentalist colleague, Barbara Hendricks, who disagrees with this as I do.
Kaess: But you just said that most consumers are willing to pay more if the animals are kept better.
Schmidt: Yes. But if the finance minister gets the money, then there is not a farmer who has the money to improve his barn better.
“This is such a piece of veggie-day mentality”
Kaess: But it now went to a higher VAT.
Schmidt: No, it’s that simple Sometimes things are easy.. That’s why you should not turn back into fantasies, which could be steered and steered somewhere. This is such a piece of Veggieday mentality and know what is good and evil. No! We must promote the development, properly in the barn, on the market and with state support, and such things do not help at all.
Kaess: … says Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt of the CSU. Thank you for your time this morning.
Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. German radio does not adopt statements of its interlocutors in interviews and discussions.