Free-range certifier attacks RSPCA logo

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th January 2012

One of Australia’s certifiers of ‘free-range’ egg, beef and pork farms has lodged a complaint with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over the labelling of Primo pork products as ‘RSPCA Free Range.’

The certifying organisation, Humane Choice, claims the RSPCA’s certification of the Primo pork products does not meet consumer expectation of ‘free range’ products, and that the brand is endorsed as free range by the RSPCA, and that the label is ‘misleading’.

RSPCA standards allow for larger stocking densities in their accredited pork program with an average Babe size pig (around 35kg) needing 0.51 sq metres of space outdoors. That equates to nearly 20,000 pigs per hectare which, which Humane Choice says does not meet most consumers’ perceptions of what free range means.

By contrast, the Humane Choice standard requires 40sq metres of outdoor space for growing pigs. 

Humane Choice’s chief operating officer, Lee McCosker said, “Currently, the RSPCA has a commercial arrangement with brands such as Primo that carry their trademark but the RSPCA refuses to endorse small scale producers farming pigs under ‘genuine free range’ conditions because they have deemed them ‘not commercially large enough'”.