McDonald's has teamed up with major chicken meat players Ingham's, Turosi and Baiada, as part of commitment to using only RSPCA approved chicken in its quick service restaurants. Last year McDonald's Australia cooked up more than 15,700 tonnes of locally sourced chicken, much of which was already grown on RSPCA approved farms. The nationwide switch from February next year follows a commitment in 2017 to only buy cage-free eggs. To receive the RSPCA certification, McDonald's has collaborated with the three meat processors, who already supply the fast food chain, to enable regular assessments to ensure their farms meet the high animal welfare standards. The company said the move further demonstrated its commitment to making "thoughtfully sourced food more accessible" to consumers. Director of supply chain and sustainability, Kylie Freeland said as Australia's leading quick service restaurant business, McDonald's was proud to work with suppliers sharing its thinking and goals on animal welfare practices. "We have a responsibility to provide our customers with transparent information on how we are working to improve animal health and welfare in our supply chain," she said. "One of the most meaningful ways we can improve the lives of farmed animals is to ensure they have access to an environment that meets their individual needs and encourages them to express their natural behaviours." Ingham's managing director Jim Leighton agreed the welfare of the chickens it grew and processed was of critical importance to the company and its farmers. "All Ingham's chickens have been raised on RSPCA accredited farms for a number of years," he said. McDonald's had been one of Ingham's main business partners for 30-plus years and its long-term support was instrumental to the livelihoods of the processor's contracted farmers. "We are committed to upholding the highest industry standards, and strongly support McDonald's ongoing commitment to sourcing chickens raised with RSPCA welfare outcomes," Mr Leighton said. RSPCA Australia chief executive officer Richard Mussell said Australians cared about the treatment of farm animals and by sourcing chicken from farms approved by the animal welfare body McDonald's was showing the food business, like its customers, cared too. "For good animal welfare, meat chickens must be reared in a way that prioritises their wellbeing and allows them to express normal behaviours, such as perching, dustbathing and foraging," he said. "RSPCA's Approved Farming Scheme Standards allow birds to do these things and more. "Ensuring that all chicken farmed for McDonald's meets the RSPCA's Standards will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of Australian birds every year." Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.