Ingham’s Committed to Meat Chicken Welfare

Ingham’s is a proud producer of RSPCA Approved chicken and being the largest integrated poultry producer across Australia and New Zealand, the company meeting the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare Standard is a big deal for meat chicken welfare in Australia.

Creating change in animal production systems can be a slow process and doesn’t happen overnight. Working closely with their customers and the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, Ingham’s have worked hard to modify their systems and transition their farms to meet the RSPCA’s Standard – which they have done in 100% of their sheds since 2014. With Ingham’s being such a large producer of chicken meat, meeting the Standard is making a tangible difference to the lives of meat chickens in Australia.  

The RSPCA’s Standard for meat chickens has over 300 requirements for the inside of the shed alone, meaning that birds are provided with an enriched environment that provides for their needs. This includes:

  • Having perches so that birds can perform their natural perching behaviour, rest and keep their bones and muscles strong
  • Providing more space per bird so that they have the freedom to move around the shed and space to flap their wings
  • Ensuring good lighting periods to encourage activity, and then proper darkness to allow rest
  • Having quality, dry, friable litter where birds can forage and dust bathe
  • Enrichment objects for birds to peck at and explore

In 2021 alone, over 340 assessments were conducted at Ingham’s farms and abattoirs by RSPCA Assessors to make sure these requirements and the RSPCA’s Standard are met.

It’s been great to partner with the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme team in improving animal welfare outcomes on 100% of our meat chicken farms across Australia for almost 10 years. As a veterinarian, I am a passionate advocate for ensuring our birds are cared for to a higher standard of welfare, and I believe that the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme has helped our business to drive continuous improvement of the welfare of our birds.”  

Dr Andrew Walsh, General Manager of Veterinary Health and Welfare at Ingham’s.

Meeting the RSPCA’s Standard requires continuous improvement and dedication to animal welfare. So, when you see the RSPCA Approved certification on Ingham’s products you can be sure that the chicken has been raised with welfare in mind.

Thoughts from RSPCA Approved

“Here at the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, we’ve worked with Ingham’s for nearly a decade on improving meat chicken welfare. In that time, we’ve always been impressed with the company’s professionalism to animal welfare and dedication of their team to evolving the business. Excitingly, all Ingham’s meat chicken sheds are certified to our indoor requirements, and we’re continuing to work with their free-range farms to get them certified to our outdoor requirements. It’s not an easy job, so well done Ingham’s.”

Talulah Gaunt, Manager – RSPCA Approved

Find out more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and our impact here. 

Interested in reading more? What is Responsible Sourcing? or What is Traceability and Why is it Important?


5 responses to “Ingham’s Committed to Meat Chicken Welfare”

  1. Tess Finch says:

    Great news

  2. Shelly says:

    Wonderful informative articles.

  3. Jenny says:

    That’s good news! Ingham should advertise more on their supermarket product packaging about being RSPCA approved.

  4. Wendy says:

    Are antibiotics used, and do the chickens get outside to grass . ?

    • RSPCA Approved says:

      Hi Wendy,

      Producers certified by the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme must adhere to detailed and evidence-based standards that are developed by RSPCA Australia Science and Policy team. All our standards are publicly available, and the hundreds of detailed requirements can be read at any time for further information. 

      The Standard for Meat Chickens has specific requirements for responsible use of medicines, including antibiotics, for bird health management. A detailed record must be kept and provided to RSPCA Australia as part of the Veterinary Health Plan.

      While some outdoor access may provide a more stimulating environment, it is important to note that even free-range meat chickens won’t go outside all the time and only have a few days of their life to potentially access outdoor areas. This is why the indoor environment is so important to get right, and not solely focus on whether birds have outdoor access. The RSPCA Standard for Meat Chickens allows chickens to be reared in an enriched barns that meet the birds’ physical, behavioural and psychological needs. Producers of indoor farms are required to provide perches for their meat chickens to exercise and strengthen their leg bones, as well as dry, friable litter, adequate ventilation and a continuous period of darkness for rest. Meat chickens reared indoors to the standards are still able to engage in natural behaviours such as foraging and dustbathing, with more room to move than legally required, ultimately leading to better welfare for the birds.

      For products marketed as both ‘free range’ and with RSPCA Approved certification, the farm needs to meet additional requirements under the RSPCA Standard to ensure a quality outdoor area that’s appealing to meat chickens is provided.

      If you are looking for free-range chicken farmed to the RSPCA Standards, The Free Ranger ensures their birds have access to range outdoors, with shelter and palatable vegetation. The outdoor area must be actively managed and encourage the meat chickens to go outside and access all areas.

      I hope this information has been useful, and thank you for your question.

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