There’s no mistaking caged eggs on the supermarket shelf.
They’re the cheap ones with ‘CAGED EGGS’ written in big red letters. Unfortunately, non-caged poultry meat is a bit murkier — and chicken welfare is not guaranteed. It all depends on whether the label says “Free Range” or “RSPCA Approved”. This infographic explains what both varieties allow.
The infographic below comes from the fast food outlet Guzman y Gomez which recently swapped to Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia (FREPA) accredited poultry meat. While obviously self-serving, the graphic does contain a useful breakdown of how conventional, RSPCA-approved and free range/FREPA-accredited farming practices differ.
As the graphic shows, some RSPCA-approved poultry farms do not provide access to outdoor areas. This is because the RSPCA has separate standards for both indoor and outdoor production.
Confusingly, this means that most FREPA-accredited chicken products also contain “RSPCA approved” on the label. However, if only the latter is present, the chickens may not have access to outdoor areas. In short, you need to look for the FREPA and RSPCA-approved logos if you want chicken that is truly free range.
Bear in mind that outdoor access alone isn’t necessarily a guarantee of higher welfare standards. If you really care about how chickens are treated, it pays to do some independent research into how the faculties are run.