Downtown Abbey star, Peter Egan, asks RSPCA to drop their farmed animal assurance scheme

Yesterday, Animal Justice Project launched a petition asking the RSPCA charity to drop their controversial RSPCA Assured food labelling scheme, protect all animals equally and support the transition to a plant-based food system. Spearheaded by TV celebrity Peter Egan, the petition has been signed by veterinarians, animal protection charities, a rock star, and animal sanctuaries.

2024 saw the launch of the RSPCA’s first re-brand in 50 years and the announcement of their promising new messaging ‘every animal deserves our kindness’ and ‘RSPCA: #ForEveryKind’. Even the RSPCA’s CEO Chris Sherwood was quoted saying “Call us woke if you like, but all animals deserve the RSPCA’s protection”. In short, a refreshing rethink of the charity’s approach to inclusivity for all animals regardless of their species. Or is it?

The RSPCA have long been criticised for their failure to protect the rights of farmed animals and their ‘high welfare’ RSPCA Assured food labelling scheme (a paid membership scheme which allows farmers to use the label on their products).

This year alone, registered charity Animal Justice Project, has published three undercover investigations at RSPCA Assured farms and a hatchery. The charity says that these exposés follow years of undercover filming at RSPCA Assured farms and abattoirs. Their findings are unanimously bleak, with extreme health issues and shockingly poor conditions discovered across the board. Proving that animals ‘protected’ by the scheme don’t fare any better than those who aren’t.

It’s not just Animal Justice Project that have exposed RSPCA Assured’s shortcomings. Many other groups have revealed similar findings at RSPCA Assured farms. Demonstrating this isn’t just one ‘bad apple’ but a systemic industry-wide problem.

RSPCA Assured has reprimanded some of the exposed farms by terminating them from the scheme. Unfortunately, these consequences are short lived as membership is often quickly reinstated, resulting in a mere slap on the wrist for negligent farmers.

Given the new inclusive messaging, Animal Justice Project, raises the question of why the RSPCA is still overseeing the RSPCA Assured scheme, despite it advocating the mass exploitation and killing of farmed animals. It may appear an extreme position, yet the charity has won the support of celebrities, veterinarians, animal protection charities, and animal sanctuaries nationwide calling for change within the organisation. They say the RSPCA cannot truly work towards its vision of a world where all animals are respected and treated with kindness whilst simultaneously endorsing the RSPCA Assured scheme.

The scheme is flawed and failing to protect farmed animals. Whilst Animal Justice Project acknowledges the RSPCA’s work for animals, they are calling on them to stay true to their new messaging. Stop assuring the exploitation of farmed animals, care for every kind and support the transition to a plant-based food system.

TV celebrity and animal activist, Peter Egan, shows his supports for the campaign:

“As the RSPCA’s 200th anniversary approaches, it’s time for change within the organisation. Along with animal protection groups like Animal Justice Project, I urge the charity to discontinue their RSPCA Assured food labelling scheme and genuinely uphold their vision of a compassionate and kind world for ALL animals. This must include farmed animals, who have suffered on RSPCA Assured farms and in abattoirs for too long. This milestone is an opportunity for the RSPCA to reflect on its relationship with animal farming and embrace a plant-based future.”

Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare Andrew Knight also supports the call:

“For 200 years the RSPCA has been a champion for animals, and countless animals have benefited from its work. However, its mission is undermined by its RSPCA Assured food product labelling scheme. Numerous videos of conditions inside farms accredited by this scheme have revealed that animals produced in them frequently suffer from poor welfare. Small improvements compared to non-accredited farms are not enough. Instead, the RSPCA should condemn farming systems which violate animal welfare, and become the champion for all animals – as it was intended to be.”

Animal Justice Project campaigner Sean Barrs explains the importance of this campaign:

“The RSPCA helps dogs and cats, so why are they assuring the slaughter of pigs and chickens? As society progresses, so should our views on how we treat other sentient creatures. Even RSPCA CEO Chris Sherwood says all animals deserve the RSPCA protections. Show us how woke you really are RSPCA and stop assuring the exploitation of animals!”

To sign the petition and find out more about Animal Justice Project’s work please click here.


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