The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is Australia’s leading independent certification scheme focused on animal welfare. The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme’s vision is a future of higher welfare farming and its mission to improve the quality of life of farmed animals. We work closely with farmers to make a positive impact on the lives of Australia’s most intensively farmed animals by providing an environment that meets their behavioural needs. More than 2.5 billion hens, pigs, chickens, turkeys and farmed Atlantic salmon have benefitted from higher welfare conditions since the Scheme began in 1996.
The RSPCA has developed animal welfare standards for layer hens, pigs, meat chickens, turkeys, farmed Atlantic salmon and dairy calves. These standards go well beyond legal requirements and are based on the best available animal welfare science, RSPCA policy, leading farming practices in Australia and overseas and take account of the commercial realities associated with farming. They are detailed and specific to each species, publicly available, and are reviewed every five years. By regularly reviewing the standards, continual improvements can be made to the welfare of millions of farm animals. The RSPCA’s standards prohibit many unnecessary or inhumane farming systems such as the use of battery cages for layer hens or sow stalls and farrowing crates for pigs.
Producers and brand owners who want to improve animal welfare on their farms, or wish to have their efforts recognised, can apply to join the Scheme.
To be RSPCA Approved, not only do farmers have to meet the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards but they go through a rigorous certification process. RSPCA Approved farms are assessed by RSPCA Assessors 2-4 times a year with additional unscheduled visits. The Assessors check all areas where animals are housed as part of the Scheme and send their reports to the RSPCA’s Certification team to review. This provides an additional layer of oversight.
Meeting the RSPCA’s standards can often mean significant investment by farmers, including less animals farmed to meet lower stocking density requirements, more time spent reporting and higher inputs to meet enriched housing provisions. Ultimately, this means that farming to the RSPCA’s standards costs more. But these dedicated farmers and brands do it because they want customers to be able to find products from higher welfare farming systems by easily looking for the RSPCA Approved logo.
Brands who source from RSPCA Approved farms and have the logo on applicable products must have traceability systems in place to ensure these products are kept separate from other products and can be traced from point of sale right back to the farm.
Donations to the RSPCA are not used to fund the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and the Scheme is not-for-profit.
For companies that choose to participate in the Scheme, they must meet the RSPCA’s Standards and go through a rigorous assessment process. The compliance costs associated with the Scheme, including the ongoing assessments of participating farms is covered by a licensing fee. This fee is paid by brands that use the RSPCA Approved logo in the marketing of their RSPCA Approved product and is quarantined and used only within the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme to improve the lives of these farmed animals.
To find out more, visit the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme website.