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What is an assessment?
Members of the RSPCA Assured certification scheme commit to raising their animals to RSPCA welfare standards. These cover every aspect of an animal’s life; from birth to slaughter, including food and water provisions, their environment, handling, healthcare and transportation. In order to become a member, and to renew the membership each year, farms must be visited and thoroughly checked by trained RSPCA Assured assessors.
These checks are called ‘assessments’ and take place annually to ensure that the farm and the records that log details like staff training and veterinary care are all in order and that the animals are well-cared for.
What do RSPCA Assured assessors do?
Our assessors are highly trained and experienced specialists, most of whom have backgrounds as farmers, working in the food industry, or as animal welfare academics. They work regionally, and with species specialisms. We employ a team of around twenty full-time assessors across the UK and also work with freelance specialists to ensure that all our members receive their annual inspections.
What happens on an assessment?
Members have, on average, 368 standards per species that they must comply with, so assessments can take up to a few hours to complete. To make sure that someone is on-site when the assessor arrives, we book the assessment in advance. Many of the farms are in quite remote locations, so this saves on wasted travel time. However, to make sure that our members also receive unannounced visits, Farm Livestock Officers from the RSPCA also drop in on our farms throughout the year. These aren’t assessments, but rather informal check-ins from farm animal welfare experts.
On assessment days, the RSPCA Assured assessor will arrive at the farm gate as scheduled and ensure that the site representative understands the purpose and process of the assessment and the potential consequences of any issues being observed.
Before they step foot on the farm, they also observe a number of biosecurity measures in order to protect the animals from disease. Once everything is ready, the assessor and the farmer tour the farm together, looking at the animals, buildings, equipment and all records.
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