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Turkey and Salmon - the labels explained

News Section Icon Published 29/11/2011

Compassion has teamed up with animal protection charity, OneKind to cut through the confusion and analyse meat labels for consumers.

Here is a quick guide to the labels on turkey and farmed salmon products in time for Christmas. Watch this space for the full report on more species in the New Year…

The guide ranks the various food assurance schemes based on a number of animal welfare criteria ranging from husbandry to genetics and breeding.

The best of the turkeys

  • Organic Soil Association
  • RSPCA Freedom Foods - indoor and free range
  • Scottish Organic Producers Association

These systems offer significant welfare benefits compared to standard industry practice including:

  • Use of slower growing breeds
  • Prohibition of beak trimming
  • Access to free range.

And the best salmon

  • Organic Soil Association
  • RSPCA Freedom Foods

These systems offer significant welfare benefits compared to standard industry practice including:

  • Lower stocking densities
  • Prohibition of mutilations
  • Use of humane slaughter methods.

Farmed salmon which carries no farm assurance scheme labels are unlikely to have been reared to higher welfare standards.

The labels explained

The Soil Association Organic Standard provides the highest welfare levels in the UK e.g. smaller flock sizes for chickens and no live exporting of dairy calves.

RSPCA Freedom Food is a higher welfare alternative if you're on a tight budget. The RSPCA Freedom label means that the animals have been reared in higher-welfare indoor or outdoor systems, with more space and enrichment materials. Freedom Food fish also ensures higher standards of welfare for farmed fish, from rearing to slaughter.

The Marine Stewardship Council's MSC label denotes that the wild caught fish on your dish comes from well managed and ecologically sustainable stocks.


The Red Tractor logo on British farmed produce simply denotes minimum welfare laws have been abided by and some additional codes of practice are met.

Beware of labels that say Farm Fresh or Farm Assured. They are simply marketing words to make us think that the animals are farmed to high standards when in fact, they may not be.

Higher welfare food can be affordable and worth every penny when you think about the difference you are making to animals' lives.

Christmas shopping?


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