RSPCA Assured Chicken Welfare

RSPCA Assured Chicken Welfare

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RSPCA Assured chicken

Every year, over one billion chickens are slaughtered for meat in the UK. More than 90% of these chickens are raised in crowded broiler sheds with little room to move around freely and little opportunity to perform their natural behaviours.

What is RSPCA Assured chicken?

RSPCA Assured means the chicken you buy comes from farms where the birds have been cared for to higher welfare standards for their entire lives. RSPCA Assured assessors and the RSPCA's farm livestock officers check that our 

higher welfare standards are being met on all RSPCA Assured farms.

What does RSPCA Assured chicken mean?

Informed by scientific evidence and practical experience, the standards which RSPCA Assured farms must meet are more detailed and much higher than the UK’s legal requirements. In order to carry the RSPCA Assured logo, all breeds of chicken must have their welfare assessed and be considered suitable by the RSPCA.

Concerns in intensive chicken raising

On farms where chickens are raised in intensive conditions, spending a lot of time sitting around and not moving can cause them to suffer burns to their legs and feet. Being bred for extremely rapid growth can also mean they suffer from lameness and heart attacks. Many chickens raised in these conditions do 

RSPCA Assured chicken standards

Our standards cover the health, diet, environment and daily care of chickens from birth through to slaughter. More specifically, our higher welfare standards ensure that all chickens have:

  • More space to roam around
  • Natural daylight for indoor birds 
  • Shade for free-range birds
  • Raised perches to perch on 
  • More daily inspections
  • Straw bales and other objects for them to peck at
  • Slower-growing breeds
  • Welfare assured from birth to slaughter

not even survive long enough to be taken to slaughter.

Why do chickens like to dust bathe?

Dust bathing is an essential behaviour for chickens. By rolling around in the right material, chickens can remove parasites from their skin and keep their feathers in good condition.

RSPCA Assured free-range chicken

Chickens on RSPCA Assured farms must have enough room to be active, exercise freely and 

RSPCA Assured meat chicken farm

to rest undisturbed. All chickens on RSPCA Assured farms must be either free-range or kept indoors with plenty of space and natural light.

Fast-growing chickens

Most chickens farmed for meat in the UK have been genetically selected to grow very quickly. This is a problem because fast weight gain can cause health problems such as lameness and heart defects. The chickens also become dangerously heavy for their age and even struggle to walk properly due to their weight. 

What does RSPCA approved chicken mean?

In order to be RSPCA Assured, farms are visited by RSPCA Assured assessors and the RSPCA's farm livestock officers check that the standards are being met. Among other higher welfare standards listed above, they

Intensively reared chicken

ensure that the chickens have plenty of space to exercise, flap their wings and behave more freely and naturally.

Where can I buy RSPCA assured chicken?

You can make a difference to chicken welfare by choosing chicken with the RSPCA Assured label on the packaging when you shop. RSPCA Assured labelled chicken is available at Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Aldi, Lidl and other independent retailers. 

If you can’t find RSPCA Assured labelled chicken in your supermarket, you can use 

our Lobby your Supermarket tool to let them know that you want to buy RSPCA Assured in the future.

Check for hidden ingredients

Don't forget that chicken is also used as an ingredient in foods such as pies, quiches and sandwiches, so be sure to check for the RSPCA Assured logo or check to see if free-range or organic chicken has been used. 

Watch the video and see a higher welfare chicken farm in action!

Video: https://vimeo.com/162525795