rspca farm scheme exposed

One week prior to the RSPCA’s 200th anniversary (16th June), UK-based animal advocacy NGO Animal Rising published a report by Dr Alex Lockwood, RSPCA ‘Assured’: Covering Up Cruelty on an Industrial Scale.

This documented substantial and widespread animal welfare problems on 45 RSPCA Assured farms in England and Scotland. These were the subject of 60 investigations over four months – the largest such investigation in UK history. The farms were pig, poultry and trout/salmon farms. Within the report I provided an assessment of the welfare of chickens within footage from 16 poultry farms, including both laying hens and chickens farmed for meat.

These welfare problems were serious and widespread, and I concluded that “These birds are highly sentient, and such treatment of them is not ethical. Unfortunately, these conditions are common within the industry.”

Dr Alice Brough and Mark Borthwick provided similar assessments relating to pig, trout and salmon farming.

Barrister Ayesha Smart has analysed the evidence and footage obtained from these farms. Her findings suggest that there may have been as many as 280 breaches of the law. This is a shocking revelation that demands action.

We called for the RSPCA to immediately end its labelling scheme and its promotion of products produced by these RSPCA-accredited farms.

This is not a case of a few isolated incidents, but rather a widespread problem that cannot be ignored.

For almost two centuries, the RSPCA has been at the forefront of animal welfare, tirelessly working to protect and assist countless animals. Their efforts in rehoming, prosecuting animal cruelty, and rescue work deserve recognition and praise. However, their reputation has been tarnished by the existence of the ‘RSPCA Assured’ food labelling scheme.

This scheme falsely leads the public to believe that farmed animals are being treated with the utmost care and welfare. I would like to express my gratitude to Chris Packham, the president of the RSPCA, for his call to immediately suspend the ethical food labelling scheme.

His demand comes after this investigation revealed appalling conditions at farms certified as having high animal welfare standards. The footage obtained from these farms, including distressing images of decomposing pigs, dying chicks, and salmon with missing eyes, is simply indefensible.

The video summary of this investigation is at

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