Our farm animal welfare specialists take a number of different approaches in order to try to improve the lives of as many farm animals as possible. Some of the main ways in which we work, such as developing welfare standards and commissioning welfare research, are mentioned on the other pages in this section and also in our all about animals area.
Our scientific / technical team takes every opportunity to work with, and positively influence, stakeholders such as the food and farming industries, smallholders, veterinarians, scientists, animal organisations and governments (UK and beyond). They represent us on many influential government, farming industry and scientific research project committees. At meetings they highlight important animal welfare issues, ways of making improvements, and the scientific evidence and practical experience on which our views are based.
We are also consulted on farm animal welfare issues by a range of government bodies and other organisations, and give presentations to a wide cross-section of audiences.
Below are just some examples of our advocacy work during 2011.
Membership of committees and working groups
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra):
- Live transport expert groups: pigs and ruminants.
- Core stakeholder group for the post implementation review of the EU Broiler Directive.
- Beak Trimming Action Group.
- Greenfood Project.
- Drafting group for new slaughter regulation.
Universities / research institutes:
- University of Newcastle and Scottish Agricultural College: PigSAFE project steering group (farrowing).
- AssureWel Project Board and associated sub-groups.
- Scientific research discussion group, Cambridge University, on provision of an open water source for farmed ducks.
- Bristol University, reducing injurious pecking in laying hens (funded by Tubney Charitable Trust) project steering group.
- Scottish Agricultural College gamebird housing project steering group (funded by Defra).
BPEX Real Welfare Project steering group.
British Pig Executive Health and Welfare Council.
England Cattle and Sheep Health and Welfare Council.
European Animal Welfare Platform (EWAP) – Poultry Cluster and Fish Cluster.
Farm Animal Welfare Forum.
Beyond Calf Exports Forum.
Poultry Welfare Forum.
Seal, aquaculture and salmon working group.
Eurogroup live transport working group.
Soil Association agriculture and aquaculture technical committees.
Dairy 2020 Forum for the Future working group.
Welsh Government Animal Health and Welfare Strategy Implementation Group.
Examples of meetings and events during 2011
- Provided oral evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee on the implications of the laying hen Directive on the egg industry.
- Visited Chung-hsin University, Taiwan, to discuss chicken production and welfare issues, including visits to chicken producers and processing plants.
- Provided oral evidence to the EFRA select committee on farming related regulation.
- Participated in a Eurogroup for Animals seminar to exchange information regarding EU-based assurance scheme initiatives.
- Participated in and provided proposals for the broiler growth rate project meeting on protocols for trials to determine the health and welfare characteristics of broilers.
- Participated in a Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) workshop on automated electrical stunning for poultry.
- Participated in European conference on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs.
- Participated in a Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation meeting on fish welfare.
- Particpated in a FSA Board meeting to present RSPCA views on the installation of CCTV in abattoirs.
Responses to consultations included the following
- 2011 EFSA opinion on live transport and proposed changes to EU transport regulations.
- Amendments to The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulation 1995.
- Electronic Reporting of Pig Movements in England.
- Electronic Reporting of Pig Movements in Wales.
- Pork cluster feeback.
- Fish cluster feedback.
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):
- Draft beef standards.
- Animal welfare and broiler chicken production draft recommendations.
Assured Food Standards consultation – pig section.
Examples of presentations given during 2011
- US National Pork Board and members of the national pig industry of the Netherlands, highlighting the benefits of the RSPCA welfare standards for pigs.
- International workshop on fish welfare, Madrid.
- Harper Adams University College on farm animal welfare and the work of the RSPCA.