There’s no doubt 2020 has been a tough year, and with our busy lives forced to slow down, one thing that has continued to grow is consumer interest in food provenance. We know that for many Australian grocery buyers, animal welfare is a box they would like to tick. So, the good news to end the year that was, is that for those who will be putting turkey on their Christmas menu, finding a turkey farmed to higher welfare standards is easier than ever.
Since 2014, Woolworths has been working with the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and hundreds of dedicated farmers to bring their customers a range of fresh chicken products and ready-made meals that source chicken farmed to higher welfare standards.
Now, for the first time this Christmas, Woolworths will have an RSPCA Approved turkey on their shelves. And here’s why, if you plan to have turkey on your table this holiday season, you should choose one that’s come from an RSPCA Approved farm.
Detailed standards that are focused on animal welfare
A decade ago the RSPCA released detailed animal welfare standards for the farming of turkeys. By developing these standards, the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme was able to work with farmers and brands who wanted to go above and beyond what’s legally required, to give turkeys a better life.
The RSPCA’s Standard considers the animal welfare science, RSPCA policy, leading farming practices in Australia and takes into account the commercial realities associated with farming.
What this means for turkeys
Turkeys are confident and inquisitive birds. Being raised on farms participating in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme means they’re farmed in a way that focuses on providing for their specific behavioural and physical needs.
Farmers raising RSPCA Approved turkeys for Woolworths have reared their birds in quality indoor environments, where birds have:
– Lower stocking densities so birds have more space to move about, stretch and flap their wings
– Good lighting that encourages birds to be active during the day, with periods of full darkness that mean they can rest properly
– Good quality litter covering the floor so that birds can scratch and dust bathe, which helps clean and maintain their feathers
– Perches for birds to rest on and which also help keep their bones and muscles strong
– Interesting objects to play with and peck, such as straw bales, brightly coloured toys, shiny disks and even sometimes magazines!
– No painful husbandry procedures, such as toe trimming, desnooding and dewinging, which are not allowed
How does the RSPCA check the farms?
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 at least 2 times a year to check they are meeting the standards. Assessors are well versed in farm animal behaviour and check all areas where birds are kept. Assessments are conducted from where turkeys are reared right through to where they are slaughtered, to make sure the standards are being adhered to.
Since the standards were first released in 2010 over 2.4 million turkeys have benefitted from better conditions. And it’s thanks to consumers like you. By choosing higher welfare options, such as RSPCA Approved, you’re supporting farmers that prioritise animal welfare. This in turn leads to more farm animals benefitting from better conditions, today.