RSPCA Freedom Food launches first annual report

The trend for ethical purchasing is still rising, according to a report released by the RSPCA to mark Farm Animal Week (FAW).

Linked with the food labelling scheme Freedom Food, the report for FAW has given proof that consumer demand for higher-welfare food remains “unshaken” despite the economic slump.

Figures released from the report show that, in 2011, more than 75m animals benefited from being reared to RSPCA welfare standards under the Freedom Food scheme, which is a 52% increase in just five years.

Leigh Grant, chief executive of Freedom Food, said: “Improving the lives of farm animals is the most comprehensive measure of Freedom Food’s work to improve farm animal welfare throughout last year.

“We are proud of what we have achieved through working in close partnership with the RSPCA’s farm animals department and our Freedom Food members, despite the tough climate we are working in.”

According to Freedom Food a record-breaking 3,382 membership has been achieved, as well having more than 2.5m pigs come from farms monitored by the RSPCA.

New sets of animal-based welfare measures have also been introduced, which means further improvement in levels of natural light for meat chickens as well as new guidelines for laying hen producers. Compulsory installation of CCTV in all Freedom Food-approved abattoirs was also introduced by the RSPCA.

Grant added: “At the start of the recession, we fully expected to have a rough ride trying to keep farm animal welfare at the forefront of shoppers’ minds. But what this report shows is that consumers have remained firmly committed and, in fact, increased demand for Freedom Food products, which has meant major improvements for farm animals.

“We hope in the years to come that the information detailed in this report will be expanded, and to report on many more major successes for farm animal welfare.”

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