The RSPCA says a free range certification proposal from the poultry industry is deeply flawed.
The Australian Poultry Industries Association, representing major chicken meat processors, wants approval for a free range standard it says addresses animal welfare, stocking density and the housing of chickens and turkeys.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will assess the proposal and consider more than 500 submissions made about it.
Melina Tensen, from the RSPCA, says the poultry industry hasn't met free range criteria.
"Some of these aspects would include the provision of sufficient light within the shed, the provision of environmental enrichment for the birds, managing litter condition adequately," she said.
"Towards the end of the life of the birds, when they need to be caught so they can be trucked to slaughter, we feel that there's appropriate catching techniques and guidance on those and they're lacking in the industry's standards."
The Poultry Industries Association says there are many opinions on how free range should be defined and it will wait for advice from the ACCC about its proposal.
By Caitlyn Gribbin, ABC Rural