MCDONALD’S in Australia has said it will source only RSPCA Assured chicken for its supply chain.
RSPCA Australia chief executive Richard Mussell said it would have a “profound impact on the lives of millions of Australian meat chickens every year”.
See also: Wheat price levels off and soya drops back
Like in the UK, the RSPCA operates an assurance scheme for farmed animals that sets farm requirements and inspects producers. It certifies both housed birds and free-range.
The standards for RSPCA Assured chicken require a maximum stocking density of 34kg/sq m in tunnel-vented systems (lower in farms with other ventilation systems), as well as enrichment in barns.
They also set out requirements for medication use, lighting and biosecurity, amongst others.
However, they differ from RSPCA standards in the UK in that they do not specify breeds or limit daily growth rates.
McDonald’s in Australia has been working with the RSPCA on its welfare standards for a decade, Mr Mussell added.
“As part of this, the majority of farms linked to McDonald’s key chicken suppliers have been participating in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme for a number of years.
“The announcement of RSPCA Approved chicken at McDonald’s Australia follows the well-known brand’s transition to cage-free eggs in 2017, demonstrating the business’s commitment to making food farmed to higher welfare standards more accessible to Australian consumers.
“At the end of the day, consumers can make all the difference,” explained Mr Mussell.
“By choosing food farmed to higher welfare standards when at home and dining out, every day, Australians are having a big impact on the future of how animals are farmed in Australia.”