Key turkey welfare problems and how RSPCA Assured helps

Key turkey welfare problems and how RSPCA Assured helps

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Many turkeys farmed for meat are kept in crowded conditions without enough space to move around and exercise properly.

Low lighting reduces activity and prevents turkeys from performing many of their natural behaviours and can also lead to poor eye health.

What makes RSPCA Assured different?

The RSPCA welfare standards must be met for turkey to be labelled RSPCA Assured.

The standards encourage turkeys to be more active and perform their natural behaviours.

Turkeys must be provided with:

  • plenty of space so they can move around freely
  • brighter lighting and natural light, which also helps maintain eye health
  • environmental enrichment, including straw

bales, perches and pecking objects.

The RSPCA welfare standards for turkeys cover their entire lives from hatching to slaughter, including when being transported.

The standards also have requirements which cover health, diet, environment and care.

RSPCA Assured assessors and the RSPCA’s farm livestock officers check that the RSPCA welfare standards are being met.

Informed by scientific evidence and practical experience, the standards are much more detailed and strict than minimum legal requirements in a number of key areas.

Turkeys have better lives under the RSPCA Assured scheme

  • Turkeys have sufficient space to move around and exercise
  • They have natural daylight to encourage activity
  • Straw bales, perches and hanging objects allow turkeys to perform natural behaviours
  • Natural cover on the range encourages free range birds to go outside, providing protection and a more interesting and enriched environment.

How you can help

You can make a difference by choosing turkey with the RSPCA Assured label on the packaging.

If you can’t find RSPCA Assured-labelled turkey, then look for free range or organic.

Don’t forget that turkey is also used as ingredients in food including pies and sandwiches.

Did you know?

  • Turkeys’ natural behaviour includes perching at night for protection from predators
  • Wild turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25mph
  • The flap of skin below a turkey’s chin is called a ‘wattle’
  • Turkeys have no external ears but have good hearing

Look for the RSPCA Assured label or check the ingredients list to see if free range turkey has been used.

If you would like to know more, you’ll find lots more information about the welfare of turkeys on the RSPCA website.