Virtual farm assessments

Virtual farm assessments

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RSPCA Assured virtual farm visits

The Coronavirus has presented us with an unprecedented global situation which we are all having to adapt to. Not being able to go about our lives in the normal way has created issues for everyone - especially certain workers where a physical presence on the ground is considered fundamental. And that couldn’t be more true for our RSPCA Assured assessors - at least that's what we thought…

On the 23 March 2020, we suspended our regular farm visits to RSPCA Assured members as part of the government’s policy to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Immediately afterwards, we began working closely with our certification body to find new remote ways to continue conducting farms assessments. We trialled a number of these temporary measures with some of our members and received very positive feedback.

Launching our virtual assessments
Then on 27 April, we launched our virtual assessments. Our intention was to make our them as similar to physical on-site assessments as possible, to ensure our usual high standards were being met and also to allow the dedicated farmers on our programme to continue the good work they do.

How do virtual assessments work?
Our virtual assessments are really similar to the physical on-site assessments that our members are already used to. The only difference is that the assessors aren’t actually there in person. Instead, they are on a live video link, so they can see the farm, virtually walk around it and direct the member to what they want to look at.

It’s thanks to advances in modern technology that we are able to adapt to these trying times

RSPCA Assured virtual farm visits

and continue to monitor and maintain farm animal welfare whilst supporting our members. Our live-streaming assessments are carried out over a variety of internet platforms including ​​​WhatsApp, Google Meet and Google Hangouts.

There are many challenges being faced by our members, and we appreciate their co-operation, patience and understanding during this difficult time. Their wellbeing, and the welfare of their animals, remain our priority, and we are working hard to ensure we can continue to deliver farm assurance whilst supporting them. Our members are doing a valuable, essential and fantastic job, and we are incredibly proud of them.

Joe Bailey, RSPCA Assured’s Head of Farming

Date: 30 Apr 2020