Introducing our 2021 RSPCA strategy

Introducing our 2021 RSPCA strategy

A blog by our Chief Executive, Chris Sherwood.

 We worked extremely hard throughout 2020, and despite the challenges we all faced, we're very proud of everything that our team, our volunteers and our supporters achieved. We truly couldn't have done it without you.

The world has changed and we need to change with it to make sure we can be here for the animals who need us most. Today, we want to share our new ambitious strategy with you so that we can work together through our 200th anniversary in 2024 and beyond to create a better world that's kinder to animals.

Our strategy is deliberately bold

The need for the RSPCA is as great as ever and we're determined that no animal is left behind, but we can't do it alone. Partnerships are key to achieving our ambitious vision and mission for animal welfare. We'll build on our existing partnerships and forge new ones with individuals, communities and organisations in the welfare sector and beyond to reach the animals who need us most.

We're modernising and refocusing our 200-year-old charity to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world so that we can be here for animals for the next decade and beyond. We have considered where we need to be by 2030 to ensure we build a sustainable, forward-looking RSPCA which focuses our vital work where we can make the most difference to animals.

As a mission-led charity, we're committed to changing the world for the better. Everything we do is focused on achieving our vision 'to live in a world where all animals are respected and treated with compassion'.

Our mission

Our mission is to ensure that animals have a good life by rescuing and caring for those in need, by advocating on behalf of all animals and by inspiring everyone to treat them with compassion and respect.

We have reshaped this mission to reflect the changing world and the three pillars of our work: rescue, advocacy and education.

Our strategy is deliberately bold. We have set eight policy ambitions that we want to achieve by 2030. We believe that we will achieve our goals for animals through rescue and care, advocacy and prevention.

Our core beliefs

Animal welfare remains at the heart of everything we do. Our new strategy is shaped by these fundamental beliefs that are core to our work:

  • That all animals deserve a good life and that their lives are important.
  • That animals enrich and improve our lives.
  • That animals have emotions, feelings and needs, and that all of us can and should help make a difference and make their lives better.

Our five priorities

  1. Rescue and care - continuing to take action to help animals in urgent need.
  2. Advocacy - to be at the forefront of positive change. 
  3. Prevention - to reduce cruelty to animals in the future through information, advice and education.
  4. Support - to work together as a growing and unstoppable force against neglect and cruelty.
  5. Organisational effectiveness - to work in the most efficient and collaborative way to achieve our goal of creating a world that's kinder to animals.

How we have progressed since our 2017-2021 strategy

We have achieved a lot for animals but there is still more to do. Since we published our last strategy in 2017 (Giving a voice to animals), we have seen significant progress made to protect and improve animal welfare. Our highlights include:

  • Responding to more than 800,000 enquiries from the public and rescued around 400,000 animals.
  • Working with other organisations, we've achieved significant legislative and public policy achievements, including the introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses in England in 2018, a ban on wild animals in circuses in England and Wales in 2019, and a ban on the third-party sale of puppies and kittens in England in 2019.
  • We also secured commitments from the government at the 2019 general election to:
    • Increase the maximum sentence for animal abusers in England from six months to five years for crimes committed under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
    • Gain legal acknowledgement of animal sentience when we have left the EU transitional arrangement.
    • Establish animal welfare as a public good in the future agriculture framework to replace the Common Agricultural Policy post-Brexit. 
  • We have engaged more people in animal welfare than ever before. We reached more than 150,000 young people through our Generation Kind education programme and over 500,000 campaign actions were taken by our supporters.
  • Two more major supermarkets (Tesco and M&S) now stock meat chickens reared to the RSPCA welfare standards, following the global Better Chicken Commitment campaign.
  • We have seen a significant reduction in laboratory animals' experiencing 'severe' suffering as a result of our advocacy work.
  • We have strengthened and developed our animal welfare partnerships in the UK and internationally through our close working relationship with the Scottish SPCA, the Better Deal for Animals Coalition and the International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW).
  • Internationally, we devised and launched the Beijing Consensus - a framework declaration for cooperation between the Chinese government, livestock industry, food retailers, animal scientists and international NGOs to improve farm animal welfare.

Our eight bold priorities for our 2021 strategy

We want to make a real difference to animals by 2030 and we've set out our eight bold ambitions:

  1. Reduce cruelty to animals by half - We'll reduce neglect, abuse and cruelty to companion animals, including exotic pets, in England and Wales by 50%.
  2. Prevent 'petfishing' - We'll end the illegal selling of puppies and kittens in the UK.
  3. Boost farm animal welfare - We'll see more than half of all UK's farm animals reared to RSPCA welfare standards. We'll encourage people to 'eat less, eat better' by encouraging people to consume less meat, fish, eggs and dairy from low-welfare farms and to only choose higher-welfare labels.
  4. End severe suffering in research - We'll secure a global commitment to developing, validating and accepting non-animal technologies to replace animal experiments, and put an end to the severe suffering of laboratory animals.
  5. Secure legal protection for animals - We'll help establish animal protection as a significant UK governmental goal supported by an independent public body, legally established, an Animal Protection Commission.
  6. Help our inspectors rescue animals sooner - We'll achieve statutory powers in England and Wales for RSPCA inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
  7. Get the UN on board for animals - We'll secure the adoption by the United Nations of a comprehensive Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
  8. Inspire a one million-strong movement for animal welfare by 2030 - We'll use our new Community Engagement Programme to mobilise more people to help us help animals.

We know that these are challenging and that we have a lot to do but we're confident that if we work together we can achieve amazing things for animals.

We need you

We can't do it alone. If we're to create a world by 2030 where all animals are respected and treated with kindness and compassion, then we will need government, civil society, businesses, communities, families and individuals to work with us to take animal welfare forward. Together, we can achieve so much more for animals and ensure that good animal welfare is seen as central in our society and globally.

We'll continue to work tirelessly over the next ten years and beyond to rescue and care for animals in need, inspire kindness and compassion towards animals and change attitudes, behaviours and laws.

We have the opportunity to make significant strides forward for animal welfare and we commit to always being there for animals.  We look forward to you joining us on this journey. 

Find out more about our new strategy

For more detailed information on our #TogetherForAnimalWelfare strategy and to watch our new film, read our 2021-2030 strategy now.

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