Meet RSPCA farm animal welfare assessor Andrea Stanley
PUBLISHED: 12:26 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:26 24 October 2016
Herts Life caught up with Stevenage’s Andrea Stanley, RSPCA farm animal welfare assessor
What does the role of a farm animal welfare assessor entail?
My job is to assess farms that are members of the RSPCA Assured scheme to make sure they are meeting all the requirements of the RSPCA’s welfare standards. It’s a fantastic job that takes me all over Hertfordshire and beyond – working with farmers who really care about the welfare of their animals.
Hw does the animal welfare scheme work?
When you see a product in the supermarket such as meat, poultry, fish or eggs carrying the RSPCA Assured label, it will have come from farms that must rear their livestock to RSPCA welfare standards. I believe passionately that farm animals should be well looked after and the scheme is unique insofar as it covers every stage of a farm animal’s life – from the farm, through transport and at the abattoir.
Have standards of animal welfare risen in Hertfordshire in recent years?
Yes, new legislation is definitely improving animal welfare but more is needed. Laying hens are still being kept in cages and pigs can still be put in pig crates to give birth. Many species benefit from being on the RSPCA Assured scheme as we have higher standards than legislation sets out, but I would like to see many more having this high standard of care.
Is an increased awareness of how animals are reared changing shopping habits?
I think a lot of people are more aware these days but I don’t think it always translate into what they buy. Of course budgets are tight and this can influence people’s decisions but good welfare for animals doesn’t necessarily translate into a much higher price on the supermarket shelves. I also think that some people are very careful about what they buy generally but don’t necessarily think about it so much when buying things like sandwiches or ready meals. I would just like to encourage people to look for higher welfare logos such as RSPCA Assured. Farmers who invest in higher welfare production really do deserve our support.
What successes are you most proud of?
For me, the very fact that RSPCA Assured exists and encourages high welfare standards in the production of commercially produced food is a success in itself. Of course it brings benefits to farm animals and I believe to our farmer members as well. They want to produce good food but have their animal’s welfare at heart too.