We celebrate World Day for Farmed Animals


To celebrate World Day for Farmed Animals today we look back at some of our best farm animal stories this year. We're celebrating why we believe our farmyard friends are so much more than just 'goods'.

We have our own dedicated team of farm animal scientists who are experts in each species, along with our own higher welfare farm and food assurance scheme. Add that to the average of 20,000 calls we receive each year about farm animals, and it’s clear to see why we're currently calling on the government to ensure that all animals continue to be recognised as sentient beings - that they can feel pleasure and pain - as part of Brexit negotiations.

To celebrate the unique and wonderful world of farm animals, here’s our round-up of best farm animal rescues and some surprising facts about our fascinating farmyard friends!

Lonely goat

Molly the escaped goat © RSPCA

Goats are social animals and can become lonely and depressed if kept alone. This was something that concerned our Inspector Amy Collingsworth when she was called to rescue a little goat, who had turned up alone on an industrial estate in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

The goat was in good health, and Inspector Collingsworth suspected she was a lost or escaped pet, probably missing her companions. Sure enough, after the story appeared in local newspapers, her owner came forward to claim her - he'd been very worried when the goat, named Molly, had escaped from her pen the night before. He was very grateful she’d been collected by us. Thankfully, she was soon reunited her with her kid sister, Lucy.

Ewe stuck

Ewe stuck in a trough © RSPCA

This ewe was particularly sheepish when our Animal Welfare Officer (AWO) Graham Carter had to rescue her from a water trough in Penrith, Cumbria last month. A lorry driver on his journey on the M6 spotted the sheep and gave us a call. Thankfully the ewe was completely unharmed but just needed a helping hand from AWO Carter before she was back with her flock. All’s wool that ends wool.

A cow that went for a swim

A walker enjoying a stroll in the Norwich countryside spotted the cow who'd become stuck fast in the water ditch in Acle, covered in sticky mud. It was Inspector Ben Kirby who was first on the scene to help, calling out the local fire and rescue service who arrived swiftly to free the cow using pulleys and ropes. Once she was freed, the farmer arrived and checked her over before sending her back off to join her herd.

Easter chick

Baby chick © RSPCA

This baby chick was found at Easter this year in the middle of a busy road in Rossendale, Lancashire.

A passer by spotted the tiny, fluffy chick and bravely scooped it up and popped it in a box before calling us, where Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Shannon McGrath was on hand to collect the little chick. She made enquiries locally to find out if anyone knew anything about the young chick, but nobody came forward. However, the chick was in cluck! ACO John Greaves took the little chick, who he named Rolo, home to join another rescue chick Wispa, and his own backyard flock of rescue hens. What a good egg!

Developing and producing welfare standards for farm animals

Our farm animals department is the largest of our science teams, with 19 members of staff. Since the 1990s, head of the department Dr Marc Cooper and his team have been developing and producing welfare standards for farm animals. The standards cover the whole of the animal’s life and underpin our ethical food label that's dedicated to farm animal welfare - RSPCA Assured.

The department also includes an expert team of seven Farm Livestock Officers who work in the field and monitor RSPCA  Assured farms.

More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK

Dr Marc Cooper, head of our farm animals department, said:

These are just a handful of stories from this year alone, showing the work we do for farm animals here at the RSPCA. More than 900 million farm animals are reared every year in the UK, as well as many millions of fish and we’re working hard to try to improve the welfare of as many farm animals as possible. Much like us, farm animals are sentient beings and aware of their feelings and emotions - their lives matter to them and they have the same capacity to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering.

We really hope people will join us in asking the Government to ensure that all animals are recognised as sentient beings. With the upcoming Brexit discussions we want to make sure that the current animal welfare legislations still apply, and hopefully, are improved.

If you believe all animals should be recognised as sentient beings and treated better, you can take action online and email the relevant Minister.

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