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RSPCA Australia celebrates farm animals’ day

Millions of egg-laying hens, broilers, turkeys, pigs and farmed Atlantic salmon are benefiting from higher welfare conditions on RSPCA-approved farms.

This, says the Australian RSPCA, is a big deal and a cause to celebrate.

More than 2.5 billion farm animals have been raised with a focus on animal welfare since the RSPCA-approved Farming Scheme began in 1996. In 2019 alone, more than 174,000 layers, 509 million broilers, 116,000 pigs, 122,000 turkeys and 4.7 million farmed Atlantic salmon were raised to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards.

About 1.5 million layers have benefited from better conditions since the introduction of the RSPCA-approved Farming Scheme began in 1996, producing 19 million eggs. Photo: RSPCA Australia
About 1.5 million layers have benefited from better conditions since the introduction of the RSPCA-approved Farming Scheme began in 1996, producing 19 million eggs. Photo: RSPCA Australia

Hens on RSPCA-approved farms

They are able to lay their eggs in a secluded nest, have room to stretch and flap their wings, can perch, scratch and have litter to dustbathe. Whether raised indoors or with access to the outdoors, there’s a focus on providing for layer hens’ behavioural and physical needs. Battery cages are not allowed under the RSPCA-approved Farming Scheme.

...it is possible to farm large numbers of animals with a focus on animal welfare.”

Broilers and turkeys on RSPCA-approved farms

Broilers and turkeys are encouraged to be active. They enjoy good lighting, perches, dry litter floor covering and space to move around, and can scratch and dustbathe, too. Whether raised indoors or with access to the outdoors, there’s a focus on providing for meat chickens’ and turkeys’ behavioural and physical needs.

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Solution for higher welfare

“In the absence of better legal requirements around the rearing of farm animals, the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme was developed as a solution for farmers who want to farm to higher animal welfare standards, and for shoppers who want to support higher welfare farming,” notes the Australian RSPCA.

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Now, 24 years after its introduction, the Scheme is “proving that it is possible to farm large numbers of animals with a focus on animal welfare,” according to the RSPCA. Developed by the RSPCA’s science team, the RSPCA’s Standards are based on animal welfare science, RSPCA policy, leading farming practices in Australia and overseas, and take into account the commercial realities of farming.