Modern slavery and human trafficking

Since 1824 we have worked to prevent cruelty, promote kindness towards and alleviate suffering of animals, by all lawful means available.

One of our founders, William Wilberforce, went on to champion the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire. our work is still underpinned by his vision of a caring world where all animals, and people, are respected and treated with compassion.

Who we are

We're a corporate body by virtue of the RSPCA Act 1932. We're a registered charity (no. 219099) covering England and Wales, with a main base just outside Horsham in West Sussex. We have many other premises including regional support offices and 17 associated animal establishments (animal centres, hospitals and clinics) that cater for both domestic and wild animals. Our workforce is some 1,600 staff and over 7,000 volunteers.

Our non charitable trading arm, RSPCA Trading Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary company limited by shares, Company No. 01072608. Its principal activities are trading in pet related products, receiving royalties in respect of the RSPCA logo (under licence from the charity) and advertising/sponsorship services. All profits are gifted to the charity.

Our subsidiary charitable company, Freedom Food (RSPCA Assured) Company No. 02723670 operates a food labelling scheme relating to animal welfare and traceability throughout the meat, fish and egg supply chains including farms, processors, packers, hauliers and abattoirs.

Learn more about who we are.

Delivering animal welfare ethically

We operate a number of internal policies to ensure that we are delivering our animal welfare objectives in an ethical and transparent manner. These include:

  • Recruitment policy. We operate a robust recruitment policy, including conducting 'eligibility to work in the UK' checks for all employees to safeguard against human trafficking or individuals being forced to work against their will.
  • Whistleblowing policy. We operate a whistleblowing policy so that all employees and volunteers know that they can raise concerns about how colleagues are being treated, or practices within the charity, without fear of reprisals.
  • Code of Conduct. We set high standards on the manner in which we behave as an organisation and how we expect our employees to act.

International work

We have a small international department which works primarily through partner organisations in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The key suppliers used by us and our subsidiaries to enable it to fulfil its charitable purposes are:

  • veterinary drug suppliers and veterinary practices
  • private boarding establishments
  • pet food manufacturers
  • professional fundraising services
  • clothing and vehicle suppliers
  • recruitment and advertising agencies

Modern Slavery Act 2015

This statement is made under section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It constitutes our Anti-slavery and Human Trafficking Statement for 2017. This statement is approved by our governing Council and CEO. It will be reviewed and updated annually.

We wholeheartedly supports the principles behind the Modern Slavery Act 2015. As an animal welfare charity operating almost entirely in England and Wales, the probability of slavery and trafficking occurring as part of our immediate supply base is relatively low.

Nonetheless, and having due regard to the to the activities of our subsidiary companies, we're undertaking the following steps to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and guard against slavery and trafficking in its supply chain:

  • Devising this statement to be published in our Trustees Annual Report and website
  • Inserting relevant provisions into current supply contracts and seeking positive confirmation from high-risk / key suppliers of their compliance with the Act, including subcontractors
  • Adding compliance with the Modern Slavery Act into our mandatory terms for new supplier agreements and due diligence processes, making suppliers aware of our expectations that they comply with the Act
  • Reviewing our supply chains for all areas where risk may apply
  • Looking at how training on slavery and human trafficking matters may be made available to staff

We will continue to develop and build upon these activities throughout 2018.

Adopted 21 March 2018

RSPCA Council