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Poultry standards adjusted by RSPCA Freedom Food

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has now published new standards for its Freedom Food scheme, reports Farmers Weekly.

Perch length
The key areas of include a minimum perch length per bird of 1.75cm (0.7in) to be provided to pullets by at least 10 days of age. The RSPCA states that there is evident that early access to perches shows improvements in bone and muscle strength.
The Society also notes that pullets that are destined for multi-tier systems must be reared in multi to help birds become accustomed to moving between levels.
Transport and lighting
New rules also require Freedom Food accredited catching teams for catching end-of-lay hens before transport, as of March 2009. Additionally, a maximum internal distance of 20m from a pophole to the range for all buildings is required. There will also be a minimum 100 lux illumination over at least 75% of the floor area with no area lit at less than 20 lux.
Broilers
Broilers reared in all systems must be provided with natural light. The RSPCA states that this will benefit bird welfare by increasing activity and enriching the bird's environment.
Shackling time
Lastly, for processors the time allowed for shackling a bird is being reduced from 1min to 30sec by 1 January 2010.
 
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