As consumers, we can drive change by choosing products from farms with a focus on animal welfare. The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme’s rigorous certification program and publicly available standards give consumers confidence they’re supporting a future of higher welfare farming when they choose RSPCA Approved. However, for brands that are listening to their consumers’ wants, transitioning their supply chains takes a lot of planning and behind the scenes work – in other words, it’s a pretty big deal!
Supermarket ALDI Australia knows this well. The work they’ve done behind the scenes to transition 100% of their own brand fresh barn raised chicken products to be RSPCA Approved has been no easy feat – but it’s a big step for animal welfare and means Aussie shoppers can look for the RSPCA Approved certification in all ALDI stores.
A higher welfare choice for ALDI customers
Meat chickens on farms with RSPCA Approved certification live in enriched barns, have more space to move about, lighting periods to encourage activity and dark periods for rest, can perch to rest and keep their bones and muscles strong, and enjoy dry litter floor covering to scratch, forage and dustbathe.
What goes on behind the scenes to make the change happen
For a brand like ALDI, that has transitioned 100% of their own brand fresh barn raised chicken to be certified RSPCA Approved, they had to do a number of things. Firstly, they ensured they were sourcing from farms that met RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare Standard for Meat Chickens. To meet the requirements of the Standard, farms from which the brand sources sometimes need to be modified or invest in new equipment. Once a farm has applied for RSPCA Approved certification, they undergo an initial assessment by specially trained RSPCA assessors to make sure the RSPCA Standards are being met, and, if all goes well, they are assessed four times within the first year of certification. Following this, if conformance is good, they are assessed between 2-4 times a year.
After making sure their product was sourced from farms with RSPCA Approved certification, the next step for ALDI was to provide the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme team with details about their supply chain, products and marketing plans, and undergo an assessment of their supply chain against our Chain of Custody Standard. This assessment requires brands to ensure all RSPCA Approved ingredients are clearly identifiable – and not substituted with non-RSPCA Approved products. This means that all RSPCA Approved claims are verified throughout the chain back to the farm.
The third step for ALDI to transition their own brand barn raised chicken to RSPCA Approved certification was to ensure packaging and promotional materials met the RSPCA Approved brand guidelines and were reviewed by the RSPCA Approved team. The RSPCA has strict requirements for how the RSPCA Approved logo is used to ensure clear and accurate information is provided to customers so they can be assured their purchasing decisions support better animal welfare.
“We are committed to doing the right thing in every aspect of our operations and understand our responsibility to the environment, sustainable sourcing, community and health,” said Daniel Baker, National Sustainability Director at ALDI Australia.
The work ALDI has put in behind the scenes means that if you’re shopping at ALDI for chicken products, you can look for the RSPCA Approved certification to support farming that focuses on better animal welfare and help lead to a future of higher welfare farming in Australia.
“We’re proud our own brand barn raised chicken is 100% RSPCA Approved. We encourage customers to keep an eye out for the RSPCA Approved logo on our fresh and frozen chicken range to support the utmost standard in animal welfare,“ said Rebecca Pine, Buying Director for Frozen Poultry at ALDI Australia.
What this means for meat chickens
The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme exists solely to create a better life for Australia’s most intensively farmed animals. Thanks to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme – and to the brands like ALDI who source products with the RSPCA Approved certification – this means a better life for millions of meat chickens in Australia each year.
And so, while it certainly is a rigorous and thorough process to transition to sourcing RSPCA Approved, it makes a huge difference to the lives of Australia’s farm animals.