Why is chicken welfare important?
The welfare of chickens is of critical importance to both chicken farmers and chicken processing companies. This is out of respect for the chickens themselves and out of respect for community expectations for the humane treatment of animals. Producing high-quality Australian chicken meat depends on the implementation of good welfare practices every day, for every flock.
More than 90 per cent of Australia’s meat chickens are grown under a welfare accreditation scheme, like the RSPCA, but the practices we adopt in Australia actually go beyond regulatory requirements and are appropriate to Australian conditions, irrespective of whether accredited by an external organisation or not.
What does chicken welfare mean?
Good welfare means more than simply ensuring flocks are kept healthy. Chickens are maintained in an environment where they are comfortable, protected from injury, pain and predation, fed optimally and able to express important social and other behaviours appropriate to their age. Chickens are cared for by experienced stockperson who understand their needs and behaviours.
The minimum standards for the housing, management and transportation of meat chickens and breeders are stated in Government and industry-endorsed voluntary Codes of Practice and regulatory standards designed to safeguard their welfare. These standards and guidelines cover the welfare of chickens from hatching to processing.