RSPCA Assured celebrates its birthday with millions of farm animals living better lives, thousands of member farms committing to the scheme, high levels of consumer awareness and rising numbers of retailers offering RSPCA Assured labelled products.
RSPCA Assured marked 29 years since it was first founded on 6th July. The RSPCA’s farm animal assurance scheme was created in 1994 (as Freedom Food) with a focus on improving animal welfare in agriculture and aquaculture farming systems.
The idea behind RSPCA Assured was to establish an ethical food label to enable consumers to identify animal products from higher welfare farms. It was hoped that customer demand would drive progress in welfare. Since the launch of the scheme, consumer awareness of animal welfare has risen, with recent consumer polling by the charity showing that 69% of consumers consider animal welfare a key issue for them.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this important milestone and are looking forward to our big 30th birthday next year,” Mike Baker, Chief Executive of RSPCA Assured, said. “It’s a great time to recognise the huge strides that RSPCA Assured has taken over the 29 years it has been in existence. The results of our consumer polling show that farm animal welfare is a rising concern for consumers, even during a cost-of-living crisis and producers, foodservice industry and retailers are responding to this demand. The positive impact this will have on the millions of farmed animals in the UK is hugely significant.
“We’re now focused on building on this success and pushing ahead to reach our ambitious goal of at least half of all farmed animals in the UK being reared to the RSPCA’s welfare standards by 2030.”
The RSPCA’s Science and Policy team develops and regularly updates detailed welfare standards for each of the major animal species farmed in the UK. All farms on the RSPCA Assured scheme are regularly assessed to ensure they comply with the RSPCA’s welfare standards which go above and beyond ‘standard’ or typical UK production in many key welfare areas, to ensure animals can exhibit their natural behaviours and have what they need for a better quality of life.
Awareness of the scheme and its focus on animal welfare has steadily grown with recent consumer polling results showing 61% awareness, with RSPCA Assured ranking as first choice in the minds of its target market (families and young professionals) when choosing animal welfare assurance versus other providers.
Positive brand perception of RSPCA Assured was also highest compared to that of other farm assurance schemes with an average of 74% of consumers saying they trust the label.
Visibility of RSPCA Assured has never been higher with over1,800 products available through retailers includingAldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. In September 200, the scheme also welcomed a major move by Marks and Spencer who made a market-leading commitment to move 100% of its fresh chicken to RSPCA Assured.
For more information on RSPCA Assured, visit: www.rspcaassured.org.uk