RSPCA Assured scheme assessor: making a difference for farm animals

RSPCA Assured scheme assessor: making a difference for farm animals

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When Dr Sarah Cutler says you can read as many books on animal welfare as you like, but it’s the practical application where you really learn how to be an assessor, she knows what she’s talking about.

Sarah’s academic background is impressive and laid firm foundations for the many years she has worked for RSPCA Assured.

RSPCA Assured assessors carry out checks that new applicants and existing scheme members meet the RSPCA welfare standards.

Sarah, 41, studied agriculture at Bangor University and went on to Reading University’s 400-cow centre for dairy research. After 12 years she completed her PhD and became a research fellow.

Dr Sarah Cutler.jpg

From there she enjoyed time working as a practice manager at a veterinary surgery and subsequently becoming an account manager for a veterinary pharmaceutical company.

She said: "I’ve always been involved in animal health and welfare. I grew up next door to a farm and my grandparents were farmers, so its in the blood."

Despite her academic background, the training she received at RSPCA Assured when she arrived back in 1996 impressed her.

"I was working with some very experienced colleagues and I spent quite a lot of time watching and learning from them. It’s a great way to do it; you learn on the job," she said.

"We have to do an auditing course but it’s from watching other assessors that you understand how to interpret that information and implement it on farms."

Sarah, who lives in Somerset with her husband and daughter, assesses laying hens and pullets, chicken, dairy, beef, sheep and slaughterhouses.

"What I love about this job is the difference you can make on farm and the number of animals that you can have a positive influence on."

Dr Sarah Cutler

She particularly loves working with cattle:

“When you are working with laying hens you see them as a flock, but with dairy cattle in particular they are much more individual because of the high level of human interaction.

“You can tell a lot from their behaviour and in particular by knowing the indicators that they are content and that their physical and other needs are being met."

Date: 29 Jun 2015