The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is Australia’s leading independent certification scheme focused on animal welfare. We work closely with farmers to make a positive impact on the lives of farm animals by providing an environment that meets their needs. More than 2.5 billion hens, pigs, chickens, turkeys and farmed Atlantic salmon have benefitted from higher welfare conditions since the Scheme began.
Currently, the RSPCA has animal welfare standards for layer hens, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys, farmed Atlantic salmon and dairy calves. With the release of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standard for Dairy Calves, the RSPCA is encouraging farmers to raise calves to higher welfare standards. Consumer demand for dairy veal or dairy beef has the potential to help reduce the number of bobby calves treated as by-products of dairy farming. Find out more about what RSPCA Approved means for dairy calves.
The nature of beef cattle farming in Australia means that animals generally aren’t affected by the same welfare concerns related to behavioural restriction faced by animals in intense confinement (such as can be experienced by layer hens, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys and ducks). Nevertheless, beef cattle may be “finished off” in feedlots where they are “fattened up” prior to slaughter. Feedlots are a potential cause for concern as movement is restricted and animals may be exposed to extremes of heat or cold. As with all livestock production systems, animals may be subjected to painful procedures – in the case of beef cattle, e.g. castration and dehorning – without the use of anaesthetics or pain relief.
More information about the production of beef cattle can be found in the articles listed below. In the meantime, as a consumer you can contact the makers of your favourite beef products and ask them about standards of care for their animals.
Until such time as beef cattle can be included in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, RSPCA Australia has developed Beef cattle welfare: Our vision to encourage producers to improve on-farm practices that influence animal welfare.