In the early 19th-century the RSPCA was one of the first organisations to try to improve conditions for farm animals at markets, during transport and at slaughter.
Today we’re working harder than ever before to try to improve the welfare of as many farm animals as possible, at every stage of their lives.
More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK. Unfortunately the law alone is not always strong or detailed enough to ensure that they all have a good quality of life, and are transported and slaughtered humanely.
Responsibility for farm animal welfare does not just lie with the farmers and stock-keepers that look after them. Governments, food retailers and you, the consumer, all have a lot of power to help raise welfare standards, and ensure all farm animals can lead lives worth living.
It is a huge challenge to try to improve the welfare of such a large number of animals, ranging from those kept as pets to those kept on large-scale farms. We work in a number of different ways to encourage improvements, and we always use all available scientific information and practical evidence to support our arguments.
Here are just a few of the many ways in which we work to help farm animals include:
- Our farm animal experts raise awareness of welfare issues and offer information and advice on all areas affecting farm animal welfare (diet, environment, management, health, transport and slaughter).
- We work with, and trying to influence, those who make important policy decisions about farm animal welfare (e.g. farming industry representatives, food retailers, governments and animal organisations).
- We develop detailed RSPCA welfare standards for farm animals, which are used in the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme and elsewhere.
- We develop free education resources about farm animal welfare for use in schools and colleges.
- Our dedicated officers investigate and assist when we receive reports of farm animals in danger or distress.
- We work internationally with governments, agricultural universities and veterinary organisations overseas, providing training and running campaigns on issues such as live transport and improving livestock protection laws.
On the pages listed on the left you can learn more about the farming industries and the biology and behaviour of different farm animals, some key farm animal welfare issues, what we are doing about them, and how you can help.