Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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Chicken farmer and RSPCA's Marc Cooper discuss chicken welfare.jpg

What is RSPCA Assured?

We are the RSPCA's farm animal welfare assurance scheme - the only farm assurance scheme in the UK dedicated solely to improving farm animal welfare. RSPCA Assured is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the RSPCA but is a charity in its own right and operates independently.

What's the difference between Freedom Food and RSPCA Assured?

The RSPCA Assured food label replaced the Freedom Food brand in 2015. RSPCA Assured is easy to spot and awareness and recognition of the RSPCA brand means higher demand for RSPCA Assured products. RSPCA Assured also replaced the Freedom Food business-to-business brand in October 2017.

Is it expensive to join RSPCA Assured?

We charge a membership fee based on the size and type of your business and - if applicable - a licence fee for use of the name and certification mark on products and menus. As a non-profit organisation, our fees are very competitive and are only there to help us cover the cost of your audit, including associated travel and administration costs. Recognition of the RSPCA Assured label encourages people to choose these products - which means greater demand for animals farmed to RSPCA welfare standards.

How frequently do the RSPCA welfare standards change?

The standards are occasionally updated to take account of the latest scientific, veterinary and industry knowledge. We will let you know at least 60 days before any new standards have to be met.

Are the RSPCA animal welfare standards difficult to achieve?

The standards are challenging but practical and are designed to ensure that all animals have everything they need for a better quality of life, whether they are kept on large or small farms, or indoor or outdoor production systems. They're set by the RSPCA's team of farm animal welfare experts and are based on leading scientific, veterinary and practical industry expertise.

Which species are covered by RSPCA Assured?

There are currently RSPCA welfare standards for: pigs, laying hens, chickens, turkeys, ducks, beef cattle, veal cattle, sheep, dairy cattle, trout and salmon.

How frequently are RSPCA Assured members assessed?

All RSPCA Assured members - including farms, hauliers, abattoirs, processors and packers - are subject to annual assessments by scheme assessors. In addition risk-based monitoring visits are carried out by RSPCA farm livestock officers on a proportion of members annually, many of which are unannounced. Random traceability checks are carried out on RSPCA Assured products from supermarket shelf back to farm to check they are correctly labelled.

How does RSPCA Assured compare to Red Tractor?

RSPCA Assured is unique in being the only UK farm assurance scheme dedicated solely to improving farm animal welfare, and is the only scheme that uses higher welfare standards written by the RSPCA to help achieve this aim.

If you have a question about RSPCA Assured which is not answered here, then please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.