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Turkey farming in the UK

In the run-up to Christmas, many people will be thinking about what to eat on the day itself. For many that means turkey.

When it comes to turkeys, Compassion is supportive of systems that offer a good welfare potential. The standards that sit behind the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme, some retailer higher welfare indoor schemes and the EU legislative requirements on free-range and organic all offer this higher welfare potential.

They allow sufficient space and environmental enrichment to let these inquisitive birds express many of their natural behaviours, provided a varied and interesting environment is given both indoors and outdoors.

Birds with the fastest growth rates are not so common in UK production, with a combination of traditional slower-growth rate birds and medium weight strains being more typical.

We work with the food industry across all systems to develop and encourage better management and raise baseline standards of farm animal welfare.

We are currently liaising with various companies on turkey welfare, including Bernard Matthews. We are working jointly on developing a higher welfare indoor system with natural light, environmental enrichment and lower stocking densities.

They operate the full range of systems with a variety of different growth potential breeds, and provide trees and environmental enrichment in their free range systems that allow them to operate without beak trimming.