We aim to set the RSPCA welfare standards at a level whereby they represent ‘best practice’ in the care of farm animals, going above and beyond ‘standard’ or typical UK production in terms of animal welfare, whilst remaining achievable on commercial farms.
One of the ways in which we try to ensure that the knowledge of farming industry representatives, veterinarians, and animal welfare and production research scientists is effectively gathered, discussed and taken into account, is through our working group meetings. These are held at least once every year for each of the species covered by our welfare standards, with additional consultation with the groups at other times, as issues arise.
Our expert working group contributors
The role of working group members is to advise on the development of the welfare standards, so that they remain at the forefront of farm animal welfare, though the final decision about changes is made by the RSPCA based on a wide range of evidence.
The members of each working group are chosen on the basis of the specific expertise that they bring to the group in different areas of livestock care. Typically, a working group includes:
- an independent chairperson
- RSPCA animal welfare specialists
- representatives of large and small-scale farms (usually members of the Freedom Food scheme)
- other industry representatives (for example from an industry body or association)
- animal welfare and production scientists and/or agricultural consultants
- veterinarians with expertise in the species in question
- representatives of Freedom Food Ltd, including Freedom Food Assessors that carry out the annual audits of scheme members for that species
- RSPCA field staff (Farm Livestock Officers) that carry out monitoring of the Freedom Food scheme.
Further details about the working groups for the different species is available on the pages listed on the left.