Brian Daly interviews RSPCA Australia’s Humane Food Manager, Hope Bertram, to find out more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.
The RSPCA has developed animal welfare standards for layer hens, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys, salmon and dairy veal calves that set a high level of welfare for the animals in these farming systems. These standards go above and beyond the current legislation in Australia today.
Producers whose farms meet the RSPCA’s standards can apply to join the Approved Farming Scheme. Once the farm has been approved, the RSPCA logo may be used on the packaging of product from that farm. Consumers are then able to choose to buy these products, knowing that the animals have been kept according to the RSPCA’s high welfare standards. Approved farms are regularly assessed by RSPCA Assessors to check compliance with the RSPCA welfare standards.
The aim of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is ultimately to improve the conditions for farm animals. The RSPCA believes that farm animals must be treated in a way that meets their physiological and psychological needs. As well as having appropriate food, shelter and veterinary care, they must have the freedom to express natural behaviours.
Many common practices in animal farming do not meet the animals’ needs. However, these practices are not illegal. By raising public awareness and ensuring that consumers have access to higher welfare alternatives, the RSPCA aims to create demand for these higher welfare products. As consumer demand increases, producers will have a greater incentive to adopt humane farming practices. The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme forms part of this strategy.
- What is the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme
- How the standards are developed
- How the scheme operates
- What the standards cover
- How the scheme is improving the lives of farm animals