RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
(iii) February 2015
* indicates an amendment
The RSPCA welfare standards for domestic/common ducks are used to provide the only RSPCA-approved
scheme for the rearing, handling, transport and killing of ducks. They take account of legislation, government
welfare codes, scientific research, veterinary advice and practical experience of the farming industry.
The standards are based upon the 'Five Freedoms' as defined by FAWC (hence the name 'Freedom Food' -
see page iv). Although these 'freedoms' define ideal states, they provide a comprehensive framework for the
assessment of animal welfare on farm, in transit and at the place of slaughter/killing, as well as representing
an important element of farm assurance requirements.
Freedom from hunger and thirst
by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
Freedom from discomfort
by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from pain, injury or disease
by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to express normal behaviour
by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
Freedom from fear and distress
by ensuring conditions and care which avoid mental suffering.
These freedoms will be better provided for if those who have care of livestock
caring and responsible planning and management
skilled, knowledgeable and conscientious stockmanship
appropriate environmental design
considerate handling and transport
Guide to the use of the RSPCA welfare standards
(i) The numbered requirements are the standards, all of which must be complied with.
(ii) Boxed sections (indicated by ) give additional information, including: providing the
reasoning behind a standard, expanding on a standard, stating how a standard can/will be
assessed and/or highlighting areas where the standards will be reviewed in the future.
(iii) It is expected that all relevant UK legislation regarding farm animal husbandry and welfare
on-farm, during transport, and at the abattoir, will be fully implemented in addition to the
RSPCA welfare standards.
(iv) Farmers are required by law to have a thorough knowledge of the Defra Code of
Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Ducks.