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Australians can support higher welfare farming during the holiday season

Australian shoppers can look for the RSPCA Approved logo on their turkeys and hams to be sure that their food has been raised in high-welfare conditions.

9 December 2020, at 7:00am

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 Australian grocery buyers want to support Australian farmers and animal welfare is also a box that many would like to tick.

So, the good news to end the year that was is that this Christmas it will be easier than ever to choose a turkey farmed to higher welfare standards.

This is because for the first time, RSPCA Approved turkey will be available in both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets – where the majority of Australians shop.

Looking for the RSPCA Approved logo is an easy way for Australians to choose a product that has been farmed to higher welfare standards.

Being farmed to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards means turkeys have access to perches to help build stronger legs and interesting objects to peck at (such as plastic chains, straw bales, shiny discs and sometimes magazines). The RSPCA’s standards also have specifications for the provision of quality litter covering the floor, allowing birds to dustbathe which helps them clean and maintain their feathers.

The Scheme’s mission is to improve the lives of as many farm animals as possible, and RSPCA Australia works closely with hundreds of dedicated farmers who want to make a positive impact on the lives of the animals they rear.

Since the release of its first animal welfare standards for turkeys in 2010, more than 2.4 million turkeys have benefitted from better conditions on farm.

RSPCA Approved farms raise animals to the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards and are assessed regularly to ensure the standards are met. Brands sourcing from RSPCA Approved farms must have traceability systems in place to trace product from point of sale right back through to the farm.

This holiday season, Australians will also be able to support higher welfare standards for pigs with an Australian free range RSPCA Approved ham on offer in Coles.

Pigs on RSPCA Approved farms have the space to move, forage, socialise and explore. They have a comfortable, dry area to rest and don’t endure painful procedures such as tail docking or teeth clipping.

While sow stall free is a good first step, it doesn’t always mean pigs are free to explore, build nests for their piglets or rest comfortably in straw bedding. Consumers can make a big difference by choosing pork from higher welfare farming systems.

Hope Bertram, Humane Food Manager at RSPCA Australia, said:

“We are pleased that this year both major supermarkets have made the commitment to improving the welfare of farmed turkeys. It’s encouraging that with the majority of Australians shopping at Coles and Woolworths, if consumers want turkey farmed to higher welfare standards they’ll have an opportunity to buy it.”

“At the end of the day, by choosing higher welfare options, such as RSPCA Approved, Australians are supporting farmers that prioritise animal welfare. This in turn leads to more farm animals benefitting from better conditions, today.”

RSPCA Approved products are now widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores and are on the menus at many restaurants. Find out what brands are RSPCA Approved here.