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What are the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for turkeys?

The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is Australia’s leading independent certification scheme focused on animal welfare. Through the Scheme the RSPCA works closely with farmers committed to raising turkeys to higher animal welfare standards. Since releasing our first animal welfare standards for turkeys in 2010, more than 2.4 million turkeys have benefitted from better conditions on farm.

Turkeys on RSPCA Approved farms are encouraged to be active. They have good lighting, perches, dry litter floor covering and enough space to move. Whether raised indoors or with access to the outdoors, there’s a focus on providing for turkeys’ behavioural and physical needs.

Turkeys grown on an RSPCA Approved farm, and transported and slaughtered in accordance with the Standard can then be marketed with the RSPCA Approved logo.

Some of the specific requirements of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standard for turkeys include:

  • Adequate food and water that provides for the birds’ requirements must be provided at all times.
  • Turkeys must be provided with;
    • good quality litter, maintained in a dry and friable condition, to allow for the birds behavioural needs to dust bathe, scratch and forage
    • adequate perch space of at least 7.2m per 1000 birds
    • environmental enrichment in the form of pecking objects
    • visual barriers so they can seek refuge and rest from other birds.
  • Maximum stocking density of 35kg per meter square (depending on bird weight)
  • Provision of adequate light and dark periods (minimum 8 hours light and 4 hours continuous darkness in every 24 hour period)
  • Minimum average light intensity of 20 lux across the shed floor
  • Ammonia levels must not exceed 15ppm
  • Beak trimming, when considered necessary to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism must only be carried out under certain conditions. The uses of blinkers or lenses are not permitted.
  • Desnooding, dewinging and toe trimming must not be performed
  • Weak, ill or injured birds must be humanely euthanised without delay.
  • Birds must be monitored for signs of lameness and action taken to prevent it occurring in future flocks.
  • Accurate records of mortalities, routine management practices and health challenges must be maintained and available to the RSPCA.
  • All persons involved in handling and catching birds must be appropriately trained and competent.
  • Maximum time off feed and water must not exceed 18 hours prior to slaughter
  • Birds must be stunned prior to slaughter

To learn more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme or to download the Standard visit website.

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Updated on November 25, 2020
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