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      How to become
      RSPCA Approved

      What is Humane Food?

      Humane food is food that is animal welfare friendly. Standards on humane or higher welfare farms are higher than those in conventional systems and those required by law. 

      The RSPCA believes people can eat meat or eggs and still care about the welfare of the animals that provide it.

      Approved Farming is the RSPCA’s farm assurance scheme dedicated to improving the welfare of Australia’s farm animals. 

      The RSPCA  works closely with farmers to make a positive impact on the lives of farm production animals by providing an environment that meets their behavioural and physiological needs. 

      Note: On rare occasions, an exemption to a specific standard (on a particular site) may be allowed, where the RSPCA believes animal welfare is not compromised.

       

       

       

      Pigs

      The RSPCA has developed standards for pigs. Pigs reared on RSPCA Approved farms live in a well-managed outdoor system, within enhanced indoor environments or a combination of both. The production system on an RSPCA Approved farm caters for pigs behavioural and physiological needs. RSPCA Standards do not allow for sow stalls or traditional farrowing crates. All pigs are reared, handled and transported with consideration and care and slaughtered humanely.

      Learn more about the lifecycle of pigs

      Pigs

      Layer Hens

      The RSPCA has developed standards for layer hens. RSPCA Approved hens have more space than those raised in conventional systems. The Standards allow for higher-welfare indoor and outdoor systems which focus on providing for hens behavioural and physical needs.  Hens can perch, dustbathe, scratch and forage, and lay their eggs in a nest. Battery cages are not allowed under the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.

      Learn more about the lifecycle of layer hens

       

      Layer Hens

      Meat Chickens

      The RSPCA has developed standards for meat chickens. The RSPCA meat chicken standards ensure good welfare for meat chickens (also known as broilers) by focussing on the housing conditions that affect bird welfare. They provide birds with environmental enrichment to peck, a longer dark period so they can rest properly, perches and sufficient space to move freely.

      Learn more about the lifecycle of meat chickens

      Meat Chickens

      Turkeys

      The RSPCA has developed standards for turkeys. RSPCA Approved Farming Turkey Standards provide for an environment that meets turkey's needs through the provision of good housing conditions, appropriate stocking densities, and environmental enrichment.

      Learn more about the lifecycle of turkeys

      Turkeys

      Atlantic Salmon

      The RSPCA has developed standards for farmed Atlantic salmon. The Standards aim to ensure that farming practices and fish handling, husbandry and management are carried out in a low-stress manner and in an environment that allows the fish to exhibit normal swimming and schooling behaviours and to escape aggressive encounters.

      Learn more about the lifecycle of Atlantic salmon.

      Atlantic Salmon

      Beef Cattle

      The RSPCA works with the beef cattle industry and the Federal Government to ensure animal welfare concerns are addressed.

      The RSPCA has developed beef cattle welfare guidelines that outline our expectations for the future of this industry. It focusses on the need to eliminate unnecessary husbandry procedures and encourages beef cattle production systems that prioritise animal welfare on farm, during transport and at slaughter.

      Australians eat around 33kg of beef per person per year. There are more than 26 million beef cattle in Australia – nearly all are raised on pasture with increasing numbers spending the last couple of months of their lives in a feedlot (grainfed).

      The key welfare concerns in the production of beef cattle are the surgical husbandry procedures such as castration, dehorning and spaying that are performed without pain relief. Painful identification methods such as hot iron branding and ear notching are also a concern. Because of Australia’s vast size, long distance transport to abattoirs is not uncommon and this can be highly stressful for animals, particularly those that are unaccustomed to regular handling.

      Care about beef cattle welfare? You can help us. Before you buy beef products, contact the brand owner and ask about their standards for animal welfare.

      Read more about beef cattle

      Beef Cattle

      Dairy Cattle

      Every year 1.6 million dairy cows produce over 5,000 litres of milk each to satisfy Australia’s demand for milk, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream and other dairy products. Cows spend most of their time at pasture and may be supplementary fed with grains. They are milked once or twice a day. The average lifespan of a dairy cow is 6 to 7 years.

      For cows to produce milk, they have to give birth to a calf every year. Most calves are separated from the cow within twelve hours of birth to reduce the risk of disease, and most do not stay on the farm for long. These ‘bobby calves’ are sent to slaughter in their fifth day of life and their treatment is a key welfare concern.

      Dairy calves that are destined for the milking herd rather than slaughter will be disbudded (horns removed) without anaesthetic. Dairy cows may suffer from lameness or mastitis. Some dairy farmers still dock their dairy cows’ tails or induce the cow so that the calf is born prematurely. And each year, some 50,000 dairy heifers are exported overseas for breeding purposes to countries where animal welfare may be a low priority.

      Care about dairy cow welfare? You can help us. Before you buy dairy products, contact the producer and ask about their standards for bobby calf and cow welfare.

      Read more about bobby calves

      Dairy Cattle

      Lambs

      Australians eat around 9kg of lamb per person per year. There are nearly 70 million sheep in Australia (meat and wool production) – nearly all are raised on pasture with some spending the last part of their lives in a feedlot (grainfed).

      The key welfare concerns in the production of sheepmeat are the surgical husbandry procedures such as castration and tail docking that are performed without pain relief. Painful identification methods such ear notching are also a concern. Because of Australia’s vast size, long distance transport to abattoirs is not uncommon and this can be highly stressful for animals and involve long periods of food and water deprivation.

      Care about sheep welfare? You can help us. Before you buy lamb or other sheepmeat products, contact the brand owner and ask about their standards for animal welfare

      Read more about lambs

      Lambs

      Ducks

      Ducks are farmed for their meat, their eggs and their feathers. A small duck farming industry in Australia produces around 8 million ducks per year. The majority of ducks are kept indoors on the floor (not in cages) in sheds where they are provided with feed and water. Ducks reach slaughter weight at around 6-7 weeks of age.

      The RSPCA believes that all duck farming systems must provide ducks with sufficient space to move around freely, enough food and water to avoid competition, clean and dry litter for comfortable resting, adequate lighting, good ventilation, access to water facilities to carry out their natural water-related behaviours, and, where birds have access to the outdoors, shade and shelter to encourage birds to access the range.

      Lack of access to open water is a key welfare issue in duck production. Ducks use water to preen themselves but also to clean their eyes and nostrils. Provision of nipple drinkers as the only water source is inadequate for meeting these needs. Water facilities must be provided in such a way that they meet the needs of the ducks to preen and clean, while not posing a human food safety or animal biosecurity risk.

      Care about duck welfare? Before you buy duck, contact the producer and ask about their standards for bird welfare.

      Read more about ducks

       

      Ducks

      Rabbits

      Rabbits that are farmed for meat are housed in small wire mesh cages suspended above the floor. Breeding rabbits will reach sexual maturity at around 4 months of age. They can produce up to 8 litters a year, resulting in around 40 young that survive to market age. Rabbits reach slaughter weight at 11-13 weeks at which time they weigh around 3kg.

      The RSPCA would like to see the industry move away from small cages and towards systems that can properly cater for all of the health, welfare and behavioural needs of rabbits, while at the same time keeping them securely contained to prevent escape. Such systems may involve rabbits being housed in small social groups in pens with straw bedding as well as tunnels to provide some form of environmental enrichment.

      Care about rabbit welfare? Before you buy rabbit meat, contact the producer and ask about their standards for animal welfare.

      Read more about rabbits

       

      Rabbits