Free-range, organic, cage-free, hormone free, no added chemicals, antibiotic and pesticide free – aaargh! What do all these words mean!? As consumers we are constantly bombarded with labels and we never know what, or who, to believe. It helps when a reputable organisation provides us with a simple logo like this:
and they explain what it will mean each and every time we see it. Thank you RSPCA. Only farms that have met the RSPCA’s standard for animal welfare can put this logo on their eggs, pork, chicken and turkey products.
The RSPCA are helping consumers Shop Humane because, as mentioned on their website: Not all eggs are created equal but you wouldn’t know that by looking at most egg cartons. Packaging can be deceiving. If you see a picture of a happy looking hen in a grassy paddock adorning the cover, don’t assume that’s how the hen lives.
Not only this, the RSPCA are helping promote businesses (think cafes and restaurants) that serve humane food to their customers. You can find out where these businesses are near you by checking out their Choose Wisely website. It’s a big commitment for businesses to go down this path and I reckon we should support them for taking a positive step. (I’ve always wanted to check out Burger Fuel in Newtown, so now I have a good excuse!)
To support their work in helping consumers buy better the RSPCA also have a funky new blog. So because we are a blog and we love a blog – I asked Hope from the RSPCA to answer a few questions about the HumaneFoodBlog.
What can visitors expect to see at the HumaneFoodBlog?
The RSPCA’s blog includes information about the RSPCA’s work in the area of humane food. This includes info. about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, insights on ethical purchasing habits and finally, recipe contributions from RSPCA staff and supporters.
The RSPCA believes you can eat meat or eggs and still care about the welfare of the animals that provide it, we believe all animals should be treated humanely, whether they’re animals we eat, farm or live with as companions.
Why was it created?
The blog forms part of RSPCA Australia’s efforts to educate consumers about the welfare of farm production animals and hopes to reach a diverse audience of ‘All Chefs Great & Small’ that are keen to source humanely produced food.
While best known for our work with cats and dogs, the RSPCA also works directly with farmers – with an aim to increase the number of animals farmed in higher welfare production systems and to increase the market share of higher welfare products available to consumers.
How do consumers choose Humane Food?
Humane food is food that is animal welfare friendly. Standards on humane or higher welfare farms are higher than those in conventional systems and those required by law. Their environment provides for the animal’s behavioural and physical needs.
It means that from the paddock to the plate, animals have been treated humanely and with full consideration of their needs as living, feeling creatures. A product doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘free range’ to be humane. What’s important is that products are certified by a trusted body like the RSPCA, with standards that focus on welfare.
People can look for their nearest stockist of RSPCA Approved food at www.rspca.org.au/shophumane
What about the issue of organics? Does humane food mean organic food?
Organic agriculture has a focus on avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals, including synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers, hormones and antibiotics. In animal production, organic farming should also aim to provide a natural environment for animals and foster natural behaviours. Organic meat production usually includes access to the outdoors (free-range), but the exact standards of this can vary, so Organic doesn’t necessarily mean humane.
Again, it’s important to look for independent certification, where standards are publicly available, so consumers can get a better understanding of the way the product was produced.
Have you seen the RSPCA ‘Paw of Approval’ on any products? Will you look out for it in the future?
A big thanks to Hope Bertram for bringing my attention to the RSPCA HumaneFoodBlog and for answering my questions. Images from the RSPCA website.