26 March 2014
Article by Katy Orford, National Assembly for Wales Research Service
Freedom Food is a UK assurance and food labelling scheme dedicated to improving farm animal welfare. Set up by the RSPCA 20 years ago, the company became a charity in 1996 and is the only one of its kind in the UK.
The Freedom Food logo found on the packaging of the meat, fish and eggs signifies that the animals have been inspected to the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare standards.These standards cover the animals’:
- feed and water provision,
- health care,
- transport and
- humane slaughter.
‘The standards ensure the animals are given a nourishing diet and a comfortable and stimulating environment which meets their physical and behavioural needs’ Freedom Food.
Farmers, hatcheries, transporters, animal handlers, abattoirs and processors are all inspected and RSPCA farm livestock officers carry out monitoring visits.
Since its birth in 1994 the Freedom Food scheme has covered 600 million cows, chickens, ducks, hens, pigs, sheep and turkeys. Today about 50% of UK laying hens are either barn, free-range, or organic, (the majority reared under the Freedom Food scheme) and about 28% of UK reared pigs are reared under the Freedom Food scheme.
Presently the scheme has more than 3,000 members across farming and food production and there are around 900 different lines of Freedom Food labelled products in supermarkets.
There will be activities throughout 2014 celebrating their successes in making ‘significant strides in moving farm animal welfare forward’ in acknowledgement of their 20th Anniversary.