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Red Tractor Enhanced Welfare

Since RSPCA Assured was first set up over 25 years ago, our mission has always been to improve farm animal welfare. We have aimed to do this through our own assurance scheme and also by acting as a catalyst for change throughout the food and farming industries.

Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ meat chicken label
This is why we are happy to see that Red Tractor has launched an ‘enhanced welfare’ label for meat chickens. Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ label has adopted some of the RSPCA’s key on-farm welfare standards for chicken and this is great news.

However, this ‘enhanced welfare’ is not equivalent to the RSPCA’s standards and label, and is actually quite different in many key areas. For example, Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ label has only adopted some of the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards for chickens on farms. It hasn’t adopted any of the RSPCA’s key higher welfare standards for transport and slaughter, which are also important areas of chicken production.

Our assessment process
Standards alone do not ensure good farm animal welfare. What’s equally important is the assurance that these standards are being fully implemented on farms. Our assessment process is more rigorous than any other farm assurance scheme or label. These assessments are carried out by specially-trained assessors, employed by RSPCA Assured and are completely independent from the farming industry.

RSPCA Assured unannounced visits
Our farms are also subject to unannounced visits by the RSPCA’s farm livestock officers to make sure standards are being maintained. These visits are not carried out by our assessors, but by a totally different group that works independently from the scheme and are unique to RSPCA Assured.

Better Chicken Commitment
Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ label for chicken has adopted some of our key standards for meat chickens, which is great news for chicken welfare.

We are pleased that, like our welfare standards, the ‘enhanced welfare’ label meets the requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment’s criteria.

Hopefully, this will help us in our mission to encourage more people to stop buying standard chicken from lower welfare farms.

How Red Tractor’s ‘enhanced welfare’ chicken standards are similar to RSPCA Assured’s. Both labels require:

  • chickens to be housed in sheds with windows that provide natural light
  • stocking density be limited to a maximum of 30 kg per square meter, e.g. a maximum of 15 birds each weighing 2 kg per square metre
  • environmental enrichment to be provided by day seven at the latest after the birds have been placed in the shed
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