THE BLOG
21/07/2013 15:17 BST | Updated 20/09/2013 06:12 BST

Help Us Take Ducks to Water

AP

Ducks need access to water. This isn't surprising. After all, they're water birds.

So you might think that the duck you buy has come from birds that have had access to open water.

However, there are no UK legal requirements to provide ducks with water for anything other than drinking.

Consequently, producers may not provide an open water source, or, if they do, this might not be sufficient to allow ducks to perform adequately their important water-related natural behaviours such as preening to clean their eyes and nostrils.

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This is clearly unacceptable. As well as the need for a water bird to have access to water, there is also scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that ducks should have full body access to water.

Interestingly, studies have suggested ducks may not need the water to be deep enough for them to swim, they just like water that's deep enough for them to be able to stand in and bathe and preen.

Because of all this, the RSPCA strongly encourages all duck producers to become members of the Freedom Food scheme and adopt the RSPCA welfare standards for ducks, which, amongst other requirements, insist that producers provide ducks with full body access to open water.

So if you eat duck, look out for products carrying the RSPCA's Freedom Food logo.

If more consumers insist on higher welfare products, more supermarkets will stock them, more farmers will be encouraged to improve their farming practices, and more farm animals will benefit.

You can also help by watching the RSPCA's sad story of Jennifer the duck and join the RSPCA's campaign which calls for supermarkets to ensure all the duck meat they sell comes from farms that provide full body access to water.

Marc Cooper, senior scientific manager, RSPCA farm animals department