RSPCA Approved chicken in Woolworths – what’s it all about?


RSPCA Approved products are now found on menus and in supermarkets and butchers Australia-wide, making it easier than ever to choose humanely farmed eggs, meat, and products with humanely farmed ingredients. Understandably though, many Australians want to know they are making a good choice and what the RSPCA Approved label actually means for animals and their welfare.

This November, we’re excited to show you the first of our Good Food short videos – a series featuring farmers, retailers and the RSPCA who will explain what farming to the RSPCA’s standards means for animals on farm.

To start, we’re featuring Australian supermarket Woolworths who have proudly offered RSPCA Approved chicken since 2014. For its range of Woolworths brand chicken products, the supermarket sources from farms that take pride in raising their birds in an enriched barn environment. For Woolworths, it’s important that chickens have space to move, good lighting that encourages them to be active, perch, dustbathe and forage. Birds also have a period of complete darkness, which ensures they can rest properly every day.

In these videos you’ll hear from our dedicated staff about RSPCA standards, Turi Foods about supplying Woolworths with a humanely farmed product, and a RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Assessor about their part in raising the welfare standards in Australian chicken farming.

We hope you enjoy the videos and feel confident you’re making a good choice by choosing RSPCA Approved chicken. If you have a question, we’d love to hear from you, so post us your thoughts.



16 comments

  1. How often is the audit done each year?
    What is the reason for not allowing them to venture outside during daylight?
    Who is the processor?

    • Thanks for your questions Wendy – RSPCA Approved farms are visited by an RSPCA Assessor 2–4 times a year, with additional unscheduled visits. As part of a typical on-site assessment, the RSPCA Assessor will observe all areas where animals are kept as part of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and verify compliance with the standards. Assessors will also check farm records.

      Many farm animals with access to outdoors (free range) will spend a lot of time inside a shed. This means that conditions and space inside the shed are very important. Free range meat chickens for example, spend the first three weeks of their lives (until they are fully feathered) inside and then are usually locked in the shed overnight to protect them from foxes and other predators. Producers that allow animals access to the outdoors are required to meet the RSPCA’s indoor housing standards plus the outdoor standards.

      • Hi Jesmin, thanks for your question.

        The RSPCA Standards are focused on providing meat chickens with a good quality of life and a humane death. As such stunning at slaughter is a requirement. If you are wanting to know whether a particular brand of chicken is Halal certified, you’ll need to make the enquiry with the company from where you are purchasing chicken.

  2. Helen Shields says:

    Seriously? Chickens that are so dependent on eating extreme amounts of food due to their breeding…said birds that suffer fractured legs due to the excessive weight they gain…birds bred to be killed after a life in a crowded shed. Birds that never get to see the sun or scratch around in pasture. Birds whose miserable lives last for a few weeks and are then killed using questionable methods…This is humane? Just how exactly???

  3. Jenny Angry@Woolworths & herself says:

    How does RSPCA justify ceasing it’s “high welfare” endorsement before slaughter? Surely our noble poultry companions deserve a more humane end of life than was displayed on The Project (Unhatching the truth 29 November 2019)? And don’t consumers deserve better disclosure from RSPCA endorsed products? Why is the RSPCA involved in “ticking” just the half picture? How an animal’s life is ended is just as important as how it was raised. For shame!

    • Hi Jenny

      Thanks for your comment.

      RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards for meat chickens cover the life on farm and through to slaughter. These standards go well above what’s required by law, and aim to give meat chickens a better quality of life. The standards are publicly available on our website:

      rspcaapproved.org.au/join#standards

      Assessment of farms against the Standards is a critical aspect of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme. RSPCA Approved farms are visited by an RSPCA Assessor 2–4 times a year, with additional unscheduled visits. Our Assessors are well versed in farm animal behaviour and check that farms comply with the RSPCA’s standards. Abattoirs are also assessed to ensure they meet the standards, and CCTV is required as part of the meat chicken standards.

      The footage shown of the treatment of birds at the abattoir aired on The Project 29th November, was appalling and an RSPCA spokesperson was interviewed on the program. The abattoir in question does not process birds from RSPCA Approved farms.

  4. Hi, I’m curious to know, if at any stage the chickens grown for Woolworths, given any growth hormones? The label does not state there are none added and I would just like to clarify for myself, thanks!

    • Hi Rebecca, thanks for your question. No they aren’t. In fact, growth hormones haven’t been used in the Australian meat chicken industry for more than 50 years.

    • Hi, thanks for your query. If it isn’t specified on the label, you would need to contact Woolworths directly about what other certifications they have in place.

  5. How would you define humane slaughter?
    The dictionary definition of humane is “having or showing compassion or benevolence”.
    Is it possible to humanely kill a young healthy sentient animal who doesn’t want to die? Is that compassionate or benevolent?
    How is that morally okay in your opinion?

    • Hi Nick, thanks for your questions.

      The RSPCA wants to improve animal welfare for as many animals as possible. It’s important that this includes the millions of animals that are on Australian farms every day. While the RSPCA respects the choices of people who don’t use and consume animal products, the reality is that the vast majority of Australians do. This means that for as long as people continue to use and consume animal products, the RSPCA has a key role to play in improving how farm animals are treated today by constantly pushing for better animal welfare standards on farm and at slaughter.

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