The lowdown on high welfare meat and eggs

17 October 2019

If you choose to eat meat, eggs and dairy, it is important to source only from producers or retailers who are committed to a high standard of animal welfare that ensures the animals have better lives.

Higher welfare meat products are available if you know where to look and what to look for.

Branding and labelling are not always clear to shoppers. This can seem like a daunting task, because the market for humane and high welfare products is complex.

But do not despair. Here are a few tips to help you get started!

Eggs

Barn-laid eggs: come from hens housed in a large shed where they’re able to move around, stretch, flap their wings and socialise. Hens in barns are also able to lay their eggs in a nest. But most importantly, hens aren’t confined to cages.

Free-range eggs: come from hens that have access to the outdoors. While the conditions on free-range farms vary, a good free-range farm will allow hens access to an outdoor area, with shade and protection from predators.

Pigs

Free-range pork: comes from pigs that were born and raised with free access to the outdoors. This means that the mother pigs and piglets have access to outdoor space as well as huts or other forms of housing for shelter, and they’re not confined to sow stalls (cages) or farrowing crates (cages).

Sow Stall Free pork: comes from pigs raised in an enhanced indoor environment or a combination of indoor and outdoor. The farming system doesn’t allow for caging mother pigs (sow stall) for their entire pregnancy and caters for pig’s behavioural and physiological needs by providing enrichment, e.g. things to play with.

Chickens

Free-range chickens: have access to an outdoor area during the day and, at night, they’re kept in sheds. Conditions on free-range farms vary greatly. On good free-range farms, the range area is large, provides grass for foraging and has access to shade and shelter.

RSPCA Approved chickens: are raised according to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards which are better than the regulatory requirements. With a focus on providing good housing conditions, birds are given perches, objects to peck and proper lighting.

Why high welfare?

The term “high welfare” refers to how the animals that provide the meat and poultry were raised, especially the quality of the conditions and care that were provided.

Generally, high welfare means that animals were provided a living environment that allows them to express their natural behaviours and is free from stress, fear, and discomfort.

Remember: eating less, and higher welfare meat products benefits animals, human health and the planet. So give it a go!

 

(Header Image Credit: World Animal Protection / Thomas Alexander)

The term “high welfare” refers to how the animals that provide the meat and poultry were raised, especially the quality of the conditions and care that were provided.