The organisation greener choices can help you in case you have doubts about a certain label. They have a large database and you can find out what is behind the label.
Now let me introduce you to some animal welfare labels:
Animal testing free The animal testing world is a jungle of labels for itself. And it often does not mean what it says. Companies might test ingredients but not the finished products and it can still be called animal testing free. Even with the label “cruelty free” it is hard to know what it actually means. If you want to be sure that your products did not harm any animals, check out the database of PETA to see if your company is protecting animal rights.
Bird friendly is a label for coffee. It means that the plants are growing in the shade of bigger trees which are habitat of birds. The ecosystem is therefore not destroyed and the animals do not loose their home. Besides, the production is organic. There are some restriction problems with the label, you can read about it here.
Rainforest Alliance Certified It is a very good idea to have a label which protects the rainforest, the most endangered and important eco-system in the world. It is unfortunately also where a lot of the food (crops, coffee…) we eat is produced. Which means the trees are cut down and the animals loose their habitat. The Rainforest Alliance Certification means that the farmer “must maintain (or restore) natural forest cover to achieve 40 percent shade coverage. The standard calls for at least 70 trees per hectare (about 2.5 acres) and at least 12 native species.” The label has some lacks, for example is the farm still allowed to use chemicals but it prohibits trafficking of wild animals, dumping untreated wastewater and many other harmful practices. Find more here.
Dolphin Safe Lots and lots of when fishermen try to catch the tuna which swims below them. Defenders of Wildlife believe that “more than seven million dolphins were killed in the past four decades by commercial tuna fishing boats.” The dolphin-safe label for tuna cans is trying fight this. So watch out for this label or, even better, DON’T EAT TUNA. In case you do eat fish, you can also check out the MSC label.
What about the eggs? Cage-Free & Free-Range are better than nothing. But they mean relatively little improvement in the animals upbringing. There are better options: Organic and biologic brings more standards into the raising of the animals because it includes not only being fed antibiotic-free food but also being cage-free and having access to the outside. “Organic certification also means maintaining of high animal welfare standards, which prohibit any cutting off of beaks or wings without anesthesia, methods common until today in (the) poultry industry”. Unfortunately, organic labeling has no the same standards in every country. And in some countries there is some kind of “Certified humane” which means it covers different levels of high standards of animal welfare.
Generarlly, there is one simple rule in the world of labels, especially when talking about food: A label is better than no label. And then well, some labels are better than others…