Is it really vegan or vegetarian? a comparative analysis of the regulatory frameworks for food labelling in Australia, the UK and the European Union

Cole, Melanie (2013) Is it really vegan or vegetarian? a comparative analysis of the regulatory frameworks for food labelling in Australia, the UK and the European Union. Australian Animal Protection Law Journal, 9. pp. 43-70.

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[Extract] Consumer demand for animal products is at an all time high. This increased demand has led to the development of an intensive farming practice known as factory farming, where nonhuman animals are treated more like machines, than sentient, living beings. Although every State and Territory has enacted laws designed to protect animals, these statutes offer very limited protection to farm animals.

The reality is that current animal protection laws are failing farm animals. In the absence of legislation that effectively protects them from suffering, an alternative for people who refuse to contribute to the plight of these animals is to change diet and lifestyle. This may include adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.


This article analyses the regulatory framework for vegan and vegetarian food labelling in Australia to see whether it provides adequate protection to vegan and vegetarian consumers and producers of vegan and vegetarian products. Part I focuses on the existing regulatory framework. The Australian Consumer Law (formerly Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) is examined with particular reference to its application to 'humane' labelling claims. These types of cases are arguably closest in nature to vegan and vegetarian food, as they fall under the wider ambit of animal welfare concerns and these types of products are generally purchased by ethical consumers seeking to 'advance the cause of animal welfare.' The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code is also considered. Part II examines the role of self-regulation and independent third party certifiers with regard to vegan and vegetarian food products in Australia. In Part III, the labelling frameworks of the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) are examined. The UK and EU have been chosen for comparison because the UK has a similar legal system to Australia's and both the UK and EU have trade links with Australia, making them ideal jurisdictions for comparison in relation to vegan and vegetarian food labelling. Also, the EU is often seen as being a world leader in animal welfare protection, having banned veal crates, battery cages for layer hens and sow stalls. Part IV makes some suggestions for reform.

Item ID: 32143
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1835-7008
Keywords: food labeling, vegan, vegetarian
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2014 05:38
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180199 Law not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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