For over 10 years Slow Food has been on the front line concerning meat consumption and animal welfare and, as always, acts in a variety of areas: farming methods, production and consumption. Slow Food stands alongside the producers, to support their work and adequately promote it.
The Slow Food Presidia projects include many farmers, meat and dairy producers. These projects aim to promote native breeds, traditional and artisan productions at risk of extinction or undervalued by the market, and support producers through a process of growth and improvement.
Production protocols adopted by all Presidia producers have for many years been based on methods of animal husbandry that correspond to the natural needs that characterize each breed and are respectful of their welfare.
Presidia farmers commit themselves to:
- raising animals in pastures as much as possible and guaranteeing access to mountain pasture in the summer
- safeguarding local breeds
- providing adequate space in shelters
- guaranteeing adequate natural light
- practising a cow-calf operation (where reproduction occurs on the farm) and the calves remain with their mothers for the necessary time
- avoiding mutilations, except for castration
- guaranteeing a high quality diet composed of grass and hay, mixes of grains and pulses, of local origin where possible
- avoiding the use of industrial feed, made with industrial waste, urea, low quality foods, maize silage, additives or supplements
- using antibiotics only when necessary and doubling the suspension period, rather than employing preventative antibiotic treatments
- slaughtering close to the farms and guaranteeing adequate transportation for the animals
Over the next few years, Slow Food will undertake a revision of the Presidia protocols to improve the aspects relating to animal welfare. To learn more about our guidelines elaborated for different species and breeds, click here: Presidia Guidelines
The work of small-scale producers that employ good, clean and fair methods in feeding and raising their animals is promoted through our communication channels and at our events. The Narrative Label project in particular plays a very important role in providing consumers with the necessary information to make informed choices and allows producers to be more transparent. The Narrative Labels provide information on:
- the characteristics of the breed
- the area in which the animals are raised
- the farming method (in stables, free range, mountain pastures...)
- the welfare practices employed
- diet (origin of the ingredients and type)
- approved veterinary treatments and suspension times
- slaughter (age and weight of the animal) and transport times
- duration of the hanging of the meat (or dry aging)
Promotes awareness among consumers, to help them make informed choices and encourage more sustainable patterns of consumption.
Slow Food promotes many activities on animal welfare and meat consumption aimed both at adults and children. Through specific campaigns, conferences, articles and other media initiatives we inform consumers on the importance of reducing their consumption of meat and choosing products from farms that pay particular attention to animal welfare.
In particular, Slow Food has:
- published a pocket guide that we encourage you to read, download and carry with you;
- launched a survey amongst its European members to better understand their perception of animal welfare and what improvements they wish to see in the near future;
- organized the first edition of Slow Meat that took place in Denver last year. From 2015 this will become an international event.
- worked (and is working) on a project in collaboration with Indaco 2 (a spin-off of the University of Siena) with the goal of proving that small-scale farms with high welfare standards have a lower environmental impact than their industrial counterparts.
We liaise with institutions and work with associations, organizations and consumer movements to promote stricter laws on animal welfare and meat consumption: