Happy World Farm Animals Day! Did you know that right now, millions of egg–laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, pigs and farmed Atlantic salmon are benefitting from higher welfare conditions on RSPCA Approved farms? In fact, since the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme began in 1996, more than 2.5 billion farm animals have been raised with a focus on animal welfare. This is a big deal for some of Australia’s most intensively farmed animals and a great cause to celebrate!
In 2019 alone, more than 174,000 layer hens, 509 million meat chickens, 116,000 pigs, 122,000 turkeys and 4.7 million farmed Atlantic salmon were raised to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards. For hens this has meant being able to lay their eggs in a secluded nest, have room to stretch and flap their wings, and perch, scratch and dustbathe. Meat chickens and turkeys can scratch, perch and dustbathe too. Perching and scratching helps to keep birds’ bones and muscles strong, and dustbathing is important for cleaning and maintaining their feathers. Pigs on RSPCA Approved farms have space to explore and forage and have access to straw bedding for a comfortable place to rest and shelter from the elements. Farmed Atlantic salmon are handled in a low-stress way, have oxygen-rich water, space to swim freely and can perform their natural schooling behaviours.
In the absence of better legal requirements around the rearing of farm animals, the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme was developed as a solution for farmers who want to farm to higher animal welfare standards, and for shoppers who want to support higher welfare farming.
More than 20 years on, the Scheme is proving that it is possible to farm large numbers of animals with a focus on animal welfare. RSPCA Approved products are available in major supermarkets, many independent and convenience stores, and in many of our favourite restaurants, meaning it’s never been easier to find humanely farmed products too.
Developed by the RSPCA’s science team, the RSPCA’s Standards are based on animal welfare science, RSPCA policy, leading farming practices in Australia and overseas, and take into account the commercial realities of farming. Reviewed every 5 years, the standards are all about setting a higher level for animal welfare than required by law while still being commercially viable.
As Australia’s leading animal welfare certification program, ensuring participating farms meet our standards is an aspect of the Scheme we take very seriously. All farms are assessed against the standards 2-4 times a year. These assessments take place on farm by specialised RSPCA Assessors, who are well versed in farm animal behaviour and check all aspect of animal housing, husbandry and management.
We‘re proud that today, Australians can look for RSPCA Approved certification on eggs, meat and fish and know that the product has come from an animal that has lived a good life.
And it‘s thanks to dedicated farmers, forward-thinking brands and caring Australian shoppers, just like you. So, keep up the great work and thank you for caring about farm animals.
Here’s a little video we made to share with you today. Enjoy!