In this section
My life has always had an agricultural base to it, some of my earliest memories involve growing up and working on a 70-acre farm on the Blackdown Hills. After school, I studied Food Technology at my local college and spent the time between my studies working at the local dairy. I went on to work for an egg processing company in Somerset as a QA Manager for 8 years. During this time, I met many local laying egg producers, which gave me useful experience and insight into the industry.
After a few years off to have children, I started working at my local authority and in 2014, I became a Trading Standards Officer specialising in Animal Health and Welfare. Working in trading standards was very challenging but great as I got to make a positive impact on animal welfare.
I was delighted, in 2017, when they offered me the role of assessor at RSPCA Assured. At first, I carried out assessments on laying hens. Later on, I qualified to assess hatcheries, pullets, laying hens, chickens and dairy herds. Now I am training to do pig assessments too.
I spend a lot of time out on the road visiting farms and ensuring they are keeping their animals to RSPCA’s higher welfare standards. I assess each aspect of care from diet and health to environment and transportation. I cover a lot of ground and it can be very hard work, but I love it.
My favourite part of the job is knowing that I’m helping to give farmed animals a better life. From an early age, my parents instilled in me the idea of being kind to animals and respecting them. I saw some upsetting incidents in my previous role, and this drove me to help improve the lives of these amazing creatures. Our farmers, quite rightly, feel proud of their animals and the care they give them. By working together, we can all make a difference in the industry.
The most important advice would be to get to know your animals. It’s so important to have as much experience as you can; it gives you an understanding of what normal behaviour is, what issues can impact health and welfare, and the legislation behind the industry.
In my spare time, I’m a keen photographer. I mainly take photos of the wonderful wildlife I have near me on the Somerset Level with my Border Collie, Bailey, by my side. I have taken some fabulous photos over the last few years of roe deer, barn owls, red squirrels and hares (see above). I’ve also been known to take my camera to work sometimes, capturing some lovely livestock photos.
I also enjoy taking photos of my family, especially my one-year-old grandson, my son playing football, and my daughter playing rugby.
I also have a 6-year-old Border Collie, Bailey. Having grown up with collies from an early age, they are my breed of choice.