Talking turkey: buy a better bird this year

10th December 2020 | Eativity editors

2020 has thrown plenty of curveballs our way, but there’s been one or two plus sides to having our world turned upside down. With our normally busy lives forced to slow down, more of us had time to really think about where our food comes from. Many Aussie consumers are now also more likely to look for ways to support Australian farmers, and with the increased interest in food provenance, animal welfare has also climbed up the agenda.

Some more good news to end this shocker of a year is that this Christmas, it’ll be easier than ever to buy a turkey farmed to higher welfare standards – for the first time, RSPCA Approved turkey will be available in both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets, which is where the majority of Australians do their grocery shopping.

RSPCA Approved farms raise animals to the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards.

Looking for the RSPCA Approved logo is an easy way to choose produce that’s 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. The standards also have specifications for the provision of quality litter covering the floor, allowing birds to dust bathe to 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 farmers who want to make a positive impact on the lives of animals they rear. Since the release of the first animal welfare standards for turkeys in 2010, more than 2.4 million birds have benefitted from better conditions.

RSPCA Approved farms are assessed regularly to ensure standards are met.

This holiday season, you can also support higher welfare standards for pigs, with an Australian free-range RSPCA Approved ham on offer at 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 pork 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. 

Brands sourcing from RSPCA Approved farms must have traceability systems in place.

“We know many Australians care about farm animals and want greater assurance about how the food on their plate was farmed,” says Hope Bertram, Humane Food Manager at RSPCA Australia. “The RSPCA Approved logo does this.

“We’re 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 now have the 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 on the menus at many restaurants. Find out what brands are RSPCA Approved here.