Red Tractor Standards Comparisons

From looking into the work by Farms Not Factories and World Animal Protection, I learnt about their issues with labelling and organisations such as Red Tractor Standards. This was something as a consumer I thought was a credited and trustworthy label, meaning that the food I was buying was from animals that were well looked after, however, on further inspection, I came to learn that these standards represent the bare minimum of animal welfare.

(1) Red Tractor Standards Website

On their website, they claim that Red Tractor is ‘world-leading in farming standards.’ And that the label is a stamp of approval that the animals were safe and farmed with care. When looking through the criteria to get one of these labels it seems the needs are quite broad and loose and are worded carefully to possibly make the consumer think better of the organisation.

(2) Beef and Lamb Standards
(3) Beef and Lamb Standards

One of the main issues I had with these standards was that the main regulations were on the traceability of the animals. The living conditions are only mentioned briefly and if broken down actually seem to account for the minimum requirements by law.

The fact that they are fed ‘suitable’ food and are allowed ventilation and housing to keep them clean don’t seem like globally leading standards.

If I was to compare these standards with those of RSPCA assured standards I think there would be quite a few differences.

RSPCA Assured

From reading some of the information on their website, I could straight away see that the RSPCA requirements were much more in-depth and detailed, providing the consumer with more information on their exacting standards. This gave me more confidence in them and highlighted the different approaches to animal welfare.

I found their infographics to be helpful in comparing different standards. It is worth noting that the Red Tractor Standards are almost identical to the UK legal minimum.

(4) RSPCA Infographic – Laying Hens
(5) RSPCA Infographic – Pigs
(6) RSPCA Infographic – Cattle

From looking at these graphics it seems obvious that RSPCA Assured products have better standards and improved welfare for animals.

Part of the resources on Farms Not Factories include a good comparison chart to further understand the range of standards out there in terms of pig farming.

(7) Farms Not Factories Label Comparison Chart

This chart shows quite shocking results for Red Tractor Standards compared to organic and free range labelling. It also highlights a number of welfare issues that Red Tractor allow including cages, tail docking, and overusing antibiotics. This shows how the clever wording on their websites can cause the user to be misled about the quality of their standards.

Going forward, I plan to take this information I have learned and apply it to my design solution. I think spending some time understanding the regulation systems has helped me to have more awareness of the standards of animal welfare and how farms are assessed. I may need to rely on this information if my design needs to convey this information to the user.


Sources:

(1-3) Red Tractor Standards Website (undated) available at:https://redtractor.org.uk/our-standards/beef-lamb/

(4-6) RSPCA Infographic (2021) available at: https://www.rspcaassured.org.uk/farm-animal-welfare/welfare-standards-comparison/

(7) Farms Not Factories Label Comparison Chart (2021) available at: https://farmsnotfactories.org/pork-labelling-guide

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