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Billions of farm animals are benefitting from RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme

As RSPCA Australia celebrates World Farm Animal Day, latest reporting shows that its Approved Farming Scheme has improved conditions for billions of chickens, pigs and turkeys.

2 October 2020, at 7:00am

More than 2.5 billion layer hens, meat chickens, pigs, turkeys and farmed Atlantic salmon have now benefitted from higher welfare farming conditions through the continued efforts of RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.

Announced to coincide with World Farm Animal Day on 2 October, the latest statistics highlight the positive impact of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, which is Australia’s leading animal welfare certification programme.

In 2019 alone, more than 174 thousand layer hens, 509 million meat chickens, 116 thousand pigs, 122 thousand turkeys and 4.7 million farmed Atlantic salmon were raised to the RSPCA's detailed higher welfare standards.

RSPCA Australia’s CEO, Richard Mussell said the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is intended to improve the lives of as many farm animals as possible.

“The scale of Australian animals farmed to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards clearly illustrates the sheer number of lives positively impacted by the scheme.

“We know consumers care about farm animal welfare and want greater assurance about how the food on their plate is farmed. Independent certification is the best way of guaranteeing welfare and, with the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, Australians are fortunate to have a logo they can trust, to find eggs, meat and fish that have come from a farm with a focus on animal welfare.

“RSPCA Approved products are now widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores and are on the menu at some of our favourite restaurants,” he said.

The RSPCA has animal welfare standards for egg-laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, pigs and farmed Atlantic salmon, and they focus on providing good housing conditions specific for these animals.

The standards are based on the best available animal welfare science, RSPCA policy, leading farming practices in Australia and overseas, and take into account the commercial realities of farming.

“Importantly, RSPCA Australia works collaboratively with farmers and industry to ensure not only do the RSPCA’s standards improve welfare for farm animals, but they’re also attainable in Australia,” said Mr Mussell.

“All eligible farms are assessed against these standards by trained RSPCA Assessors who visit all participating farms 2-4 times a year. The rigorous assessment process behind the scenes is a critical aspect of the scheme,” he said.

Mr Mussell also said the COVID-19 pandemic had heightened focus on supply chains and interest in farming practices from consumers seeking assurance.

“Through the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, we are proud to work with dedicated farmers and forward-thinking brands who have raised the bar for farm animal welfare in our country” he said.

“It's also now easier than ever for Australians to choose humanely-farmed products and that is having a big impact on how millions of animals are farmed every year,” said Mr Mussel.