How to Choose Compassionate Food
Over 1,000 million animals are farmed in the UK and over 75 billion worldwide, every year. Around 70% of these are raised in intensive factory farms, and some of these factory farms are right here in Dorset.
Humans have farmed animals for centuries, working in balance with nature. But World War II gave rise to the modern factory farm, which places production above all else. Most farm animals are now treated as mere commodities, and reared intensively in cages or systems that seriously impact animal welfare, human health, and devastate the environment.
We believe in a world without factory farming, where animals are treated with respect and compassion.
“As a consumer, YOU can make a BIG difference – for animals, people, our planet, and your own health too – simply through your everyday food shopping choices, and it need not cost the earth…”
Every small change can MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE!
GO FREE-RANGE AND CHOOSE HIGHER-WELFARE
You may only need to spend a little more on free-range meat and dairy to help improve the lives of millions of farm animals. Check all labels, ingredients and menus state they are ‘free-range’, ‘organic’ or RSPCA Assured.
CHOOSE ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE
Support sustainable farming that works with nature, not against it. Organic farming also has the highest overall animal welfare standards.
EAT LESS MEAT AND TRY VEGAN*
Reducing our reliance on meat can help end factory farming, fight world hunger and protect the environment. A great way to reduce animal suffering and help our planet is to not eat animals at all. Plant based diets can also be cheaper, healthier and the most eco-friendly.
Know your food labels
The labelling of fresh food and produce can be very confusing. Generally, look for labels that state they are organic, free-range or RSPCA Assured. These animals should have benefitted from outdoor access, bedding or perches, restriction on hours spent in transport, a prohibition on beak trimming or tail docking, and are slower growing breeds (which suffer fewer welfare problems).
Soil Association Organic
is free-range and organic and has the highest overall animal welfare standards.
Soil Association approved food is GM free, avoids antibiotics, uses fewer pesticides and no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers. Organic farming uses a more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment which is better for wildlife too. For more information visit www.soilassociation.org
(previously called Freedom Food) is often free-range and offers higher animal welfare standards than most other schemes.
Depending on the species, food from RSPCA Assured farm animals benefit from the RSPCA welfare standards including; more space, natural lighting, comfy bedding, environmental enrichment e.g., objects for birds to peck at, shade and shelter. For more information visit www.rspcaassured.org.uk
Marine Stewardship Council
If you buy wild fish, choose line-caught from sustainable stock and look for the MSC logo for certified sustainable seafood. For more information visit www.msc.org
Aquaculture Stewardship Council
If you buy farmed fish, look for the ASC logo for more sustainable fish farming. For more information visit www.asc-aqua.org
Basic schemes to be wary of (and words that do NOT always mean higher-welfare):
- Red Tractor assures legal minimum animal welfare standards BUT can be found on factory farmed products.
- British Lion Eggs Quality Mark assures legal minimum animal welfare standards BUT can also be found on eggs from caged hens.
- Pictures of green grass or animals grazing in fields can appear on produce from animals that have actually been reared indoors!
- Avoid misleading wording on labels with terms such as;
“Farm fresh”, “Farm assured”, “Locally sourced” or “Produced to high animal welfare standards”.
The Egg Code
You can check the first number of the stamped code on chicken eggs to know the method of production, as follows:-
0 = Organic
1 = Free-range
2 = Barn
3 = Caged
Remember to check egg ingredients say ‘free-range’ or at least ‘cage-free’ in any ready-made foods too.
*Easy Meat & Dairy Substitutes include:
Quorn range (vegan options available) / Linda McCartney range (vegan options available) / Tofu / Soya Mince / Rice or Soya Cheeses / Alpro dairy range / Pure vegetable margarines / Dairy-free milk: Soya, Coconut, Rice, Hemp, Oat, Almond / Vegan chocolate brands: Moo-Free, Vego, Ombar (Raw), Booja Booja / and of course lots more…
NEW! FREE Compassionate Food Guide
Compassionate Dorset have created a FREE handy wallet sized Compassionate Food Guide collaborating with Compassion in World Farming – to help you understand what your food labels mean when you shop for meat or dairy. It is packed with animal facts plus tips to help you eat less, but higher welfare meat and dairy, through to trying more vegan options – to help create a kinder and more sustainable food system.
If you would like to request some printed guides to distribute at a local shop, cafe or event, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org