New short film delves into RSPCA Approved chicken farming

Recently the RSPCA Approved team was pleased to work with the crew behind the ‘Humans of Agriculture’ platform, which is gaining prominence for showcasing the stories of those involved in Australian agriculture and seeking to better connect mainstream society to modern farming across the country.  

The RSPCA Approved team met with the crew to discuss all things meat chicken production within the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, covering the different types of farming systems, what meat chickens need for good welfare, and what it takes to provide higher-welfare, sustainable chicken for Australian consumers. The result – this educational video and podcast which we hope will help a whole new audience learn about meat chicken welfare and the people and operations behind RSPCA Approved.  


The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme was developed by the RSPCA as one of our mechanisms to drive tangible change for farm animals on the ground today. The work done by the Australian meat chicken industry to meet the RSPCA’s Standard and improve meat chicken welfare well beyond what’s legally required is worthy of recognition. This is especially significant due to the sheer number of meat chickens farmed in Australia each year, which is over 690 million in total.   

As stated in the film, Consumers care about animal welfare but also want animal-based products that are affordable”. So how can this balance be achieved to allow producers to prioritise the welfare of their meat chickens and rear them to higher-welfare standards, while still running a sustainable business?  

Good welfare and a better life for meat chickens can be achieved in both a well-managed barn system and a well-managed free-range system, but it’s important there are standards in place to ensure their physical and psychological needs are met.   

Farms with RSPCA Approved certification are required to provide meat chickens with an enriched environment that offers room to move and perform natural behaviours as well places to perch (which encourages movement and helps strengthen their bones), good quality litter (for dustbathing and foraging), and interesting objects to peck at. When meat chickens do have access to the outdoors in free-range farming systems, they still spend a good deal of time inside the shed, so the quality of the indoor environment is a key component to ensuring good welfare, and it’s important to get it right.    

Meat chicken producers with RSPCA Approved certification who also are assessed against the RSPCA’s outdoor requirements within our standard, have additional specifications to make sure the outdoor area is inviting, with palatable vegetation and adequate shade specified to the number of birds – provisions that are not currently required by law in Australia. Having an inviting and protected outdoor area encourages meat chickens to use the space and provides additional enrichment.   

Whether barn raised or free range, it’s important both systems have standards that prioritise better animal welfare. As summarised in the film, “it’s important that animals are raised under the right conditions and the right environment… it’s a core principle for our customers but it’s also a core principle for every one of our staff. ” 


Excitingly, the video also features a free-range farm with meat chickens that are slightly different to your usual Australian chook. These birds are a different breed to traditional commercial breeds and grow at a slower rate.  

Until recently, slower-growing breeds were not commercially available in Australia (partly due to the complexity and cost associated with importing new genetics into Australia due to our biosecurity regulations). Bringing new breeds such as this one into the country takes considerable time but is an exciting move for the future of meat chicken welfare in Australia.   


Producers with RSPCA Approved certification for all or part of their business adhere to stringent welfare requirements that go well beyond what’s required by Australian law. In fact, within the RSPCA’s Standard for meat chickens, there are over 400 requirements covering the birds’ entire lifecycle. This is a key point of difference as consumers are discovering more and more with rising trends that labels don’t always mean what they say

Farms and abattoirs within the scope of a producer’s RSPCA Approved certification are regularly assessed by specially trained RSPCA Assessors, to ensure standards are continuing to be maintained.  

Routine farm assessments are not required by Australian law, meaning standards of welfare can vary widely even among similar farming systems. This is why having a dedicated third-party animal welfare certification scheme is so important, as Manager – RSPCA Approved Talulah observes, “I think all of us want to know that when we buy an animal-based product, that it has had a good life,” and as noted in the video, “with RSPCA being a well-known and trusted name synonymous with higher-welfare standards,” consumers can look for the certification logo with confidence that this is the case.   

With many consumers seeking higher-welfare options, the RSPCA Approved team believes it is important to highlight the work of dedicated producers who have achieved RSPCA Approved certification. To discover more, take a look at the short film and podcast where we speak in depth with the Humans of Agriculture team and answer more common questions on meat chicken welfare and production in Australia.  


2 responses to “New short film delves into RSPCA Approved chicken farming”

  1. Colleen Marie McKenney says:

    I have never once been able to get any of your short videos working – like the one above. All I ever get is the ball bouncing up and down.

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