First SPCA badge of certification for barn raised chickens

First SPCA badge of certification for barn raised chickens

SPCA has given its blue badge of certification to barn raised chicken farms for the first time in New Zealand. Ingham’s is the first and only New Zealand company to meet the new, rigorous SPCA Certified animal welfare standards for barn raised chickens.

Ingham’s free range chicken farms are already SPCA Certified. This now means that 100% of Ingham’s chicken farms are now SPCA Certified – another first for the New Zealand industry.

Ingham’s Chief Executive, New Zealand, Ed Alexander, says it’s a very satisfying achievement for a company that always has animal welfare as a top priority. “We know Kiwis love their chicken – more than a third of all our meals with meat are chicken, and we also know how much Kiwis care about the way animals are farmed in Aotearoa, so this was always an important benchmark for us to reach. Especially to be the first to do so.

“We’re proud to say that being SPCA Certified means that all of our chickens will have better lives. Our operations have always been welfare-focussed, so this association with SPCA has been our motivation to make tweaks we needed to – and wanted to. Now we can proudly bear the SPCA Certified blue badge on all our chicken meat products which we hope sets a benchmark for the entire industry,” says Alexander.

The 175 SPCA Certified criteria are specific, measurable, science-based chicken welfare standards with all required to be met by chicken farmers wanting to become SPCA Certified.

SPCA Certified standards provide a significant point of difference to the welfare of barn raised chickens especially when compared to the standard Code of Welfare for Meat Chickens required by law. Key examples include:

• More space for chickens to be active

• More/deeper quality dry-litter – for natural foraging activity and comfort

• More natural environmental features: perching platforms & curiosity items to peck.

• Four independent on-site audits per year ensuring SPCA standards are maintained (Non SPCA Certified farms have no required on-site animal welfare audits)

• Increased ventilation for air-flow & reducing ammonia levels in the air & dry litter

• More daily barn walk-throughs and chicken interactions with the farmer

• No hormones/antibiotic use for growth promotion purposes1

National Manager SPCA Certified, Kelly Drake, says they are pleased to add barn raised chicken farming to their growing list of SPCA Certified Animal Welfare partners. “SPCA is delighted that Ingham’s has become 100% SPCA Certified for all of their free range and barn raised meat chicken farms. This will mean millions more chickens are living better lives on these farms in New Zealand – above and beyond the minimum requirements.”

“By working alongside the farming industry, SPCA Certified is able to help raise the bar and drive continuous, meaningful improvement for NZ’s animals. We are the only animal welfare certification programme in New Zealand independent from any industry body. We believe our members want the same as we do – healthy animals on their farms and in their businesses.”

Ingham’s barn raised chicken meat products bearing the SPCA Certified blue badge will be available on supermarket shelves from November.

  1. Even prior to this SPCA Certification, Ingham’s does not permit the use of hormones/antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in any of its operations.
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