Coles' chicken gets RSPCA tick

03 Jan, 2014 08:37 AM
Coles has listened carefully to what customers are telling us about animal welfare

UPDATED: ALL Coles brand fresh chicken will be RSPCA approved from today, in a move the supermarket giant says is a win for consumers and animal welfare.

In a statement, Coles says it will source RSPCA approved fresh chicken from 170 farms across Australia, working with suppliers including Hazeldenes, Cordina Farms, Baiada, Nichols Poultry and Golden Cockerel.

RSPCA approved chickens are raised in barns farmed to RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards, which it says "allow birds to freely exhibit natural behaviours such as perching, scratching and foraging".

In a statement, Coles says it understands there are extra costs involved in meeting the standards set by the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, so has paid its suppliers more in order to meet the increased costs of RSPCA approved production.

It says it has worked closely with the RSPCA and 170 farms across Australia, over three years, to deliver RSPCA approved Coles brand chicken to customers.

Coles chief operating officer, John Durkan, said the move was the latest in a series of “quality improvements”.

“Coles has listened carefully to what customers are telling us about animal welfare and the quality of the food they feed their families,” he said in a statement.

“We’ve taken this feedback to our farmers and growers and worked with them to deliver a better product without adding to the cost of the weekly shop.

“We started with no added hormones beef nearly three years ago and then followed with cage-free Coles brand eggs, sow stall-free fresh pork and sustainable sea food.

“And now we have gone further and made all our Coles brand fresh chicken RSPCA approved, again at no extra cost to customers.”

However, Victorian Farmers Federation chicken meat president Allan Bullen said Coles must guarantee that chicken farmers and processors would not bear the cost of the changes.

"The RSPCA standard means more space for birds, installing perches, more lighting, deeper litter and higher audit, labour and transport costs," he said.

“If we are to implement the RSPCA standards it will increase our chicken farmers' growing cost by 25 per cent.

“So, my question to Mr Durkan is: ‘Will you give us an iron-clad guarantee that Coles absorbs the extra cost of implementing the RSPCA standard?'

“The reality is we’re getting paid 83 cents a bird, delivered to Coles processors. Yet Coles is selling its roasted chickens at $10 a bird – who’s making the margin, because the farmers aren’t."

Coles has been selling RSPCA approved chicken breasts, wings, drumsticks, thigh fillets and whole chickens since 2011.

The pre-packed range initially went on sale in Victorian stores only but was introduced to other States as the products became more popular with customers.

Now, 100 per cent of Coles brand fresh chicken including loose portions from the deli and barbecue chickens will be RSPCA approved.

RSPCA Australia chief executive Heather Neil said “the lives of millions of meat chickens will be improved” through Coles’ move.

“It’s an exciting time for Australian consumers, who over the years have been demanding more and more high welfare food in a growing trend which is directly benefiting the welfare of farm animals,” she said in a statement.

Coles says a blind taste test involving 428 consumers and conducted by Colmar Brunton market research agency in November 2013, confirmed that “the higher welfare Coles RSPCA Approved chicken tastes better than conventionally raised Coles chicken”.

A new nationwide TV advertising campaign featuring Australian chef and Coles ambassador, Curtis Stone, launches today.

“Whether you are growing fruit and vegies or producing pork and chicken, the fact is the more care you take in growing the plant or raising the animal the better tasting product you’re going to get on your plate,” Mr Stone said in a statement.

“Australian farmers already produce some of the best food in the world and I’m delighted that they are once again leading the way in helping Australian families serve up better quality, better tasting food.”

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


21/02/2014 12:14:32 PM

I am always dubious about these kind of claims (RSCPA approved, Barn Laid etc), and also wonder how this will affect our, already struggling farmers. Surely if the Coles' of the world want to change things, they should invest in our farmers and help them make their farms "free range". There is ambiguity as to what that means too though. It is good to bring awareness to the welfare of our animals though. This is just one article mentioning these labelling issues: /10000-hens-to-a-hectare-is-no-fr ee-range-accc-20130304-2fgxg.htm
14/01/2014 5:05:33 PM

funny that the farmers only herd of the guidelines a few months ago.. they had no input what so ever in how these rules are documented! RSPCA is funded from Coles and the farmer is getting screwd again!! But COLES take the credit again!! Good work DURKIN & COLES!!!
7/01/2014 4:54:29 PM

I encourage all who are trying to believe that Coles etc. are trying to do the birds some good, to download the 28 page guidelines from the RSPCA. (Just Google). It shows that these poor birds are treated no better than any other, still cramped, artificial light, gassed to soften the end blow. The only way, if you require to consume chickens is fully organic free range birds roam free on grass fields, limited number per metre so do not be fooled, it is only a sales pitch they really do not care about the birds or the poor farmer, just the bottom line.
7/01/2014 7:15:43 AM

No bill , the backward ones live some where in Africa with dirt floors no running water & burning cow dung for fire wood .As for closed minds , did you actually read them & comprehend or just assume & launch into your pro-forma diatribe .Its Pavlovian responses from you these days .
7/01/2014 6:12:19 AM

Supermarkets will always sell chicken and meat . The fact that they are deciding to do so in a way that acknowledges animal welfare is a step in the right direction . I'm just thrilled that this raises awareness and discussion .
6/01/2014 12:12:22 PM

Well said -Bushie Bill - Totally agree with your comment.
Bushie Bill
5/01/2014 6:33:43 AM

Posts above, of course, confirm that RARA starts any discussion with a totally closed mind, impervious to any concept and process that wasn't approved by their fathers and grandfathers and handed down over the campfire. No wonder the rest of the world considers Aussie farmers the most backward people on Earth.
Chicken Man
3/01/2014 1:33:13 PM

I love these grotesque chickens, they are tender!! Its because they can barely walk because of their growth rate and weight. They really can't hurt themselves as a result, can't fall over, can't have air crashes, cause they can't fly either. But hell the RSPCA think that's OK so it must be!! The RSPCA probably made a few bucks here for the "animal welfare benefits"!!
3/01/2014 11:52:05 AM

I'm sure all the chickens gaining better taste will be delighted to know they are preferred for their flavour just before they get their heads cut off in the same manner as the rest. Where are all the AA's Animal Lib's, Peta? Are they all congregating to protest, outside Coles & the RSPCA, about them agreeing to let them be slaughtered for human consumption? Have they come to terms with reality perhaps? Nah - just daydreaming.
Paul Cox
3/01/2014 10:38:29 AM

What is not mentioned is whether Coles is paying the RSPCA for their tick of approval? I for one would like to know. Given the commercial nature of the RSPCA tick I will be discounting any animal welfare value to it. Come clean Coles, come clean RSPCA.


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