On 9th June 2024, the UK animal rights organisation Animal Rising released the largest farm investigation in UK history, exposing what they say is systemic cruelty over 40 farms under the RSPCA Assured Scheme. They carried out over 60 undercover investigations and claimed they found widespread suffering in every single one. 

The group has released a report titled, “RSPCA ‘Assured’: Covering up Cruelty on an Industrial Scale. An investigation into animal suffering and widespread regulation breaches on 45 RSPCA Assured Scheme farms in England & Scotland”. In it, we can read, “Verified by a specialist barrister in animal welfare, we found 280 legal breaches and a further 94 breaches of DEFRA codes of practice. We have found pigs lying dead in the middle of pen aisles. Chicks dead from dehydration and starvation. Salmon and trout with eyes and body parts missing. Laying hens having lost their feathers from distress. Pigs dragging themselves across the floor because their legs aren’t working. Sheds holding up to 64,000 chickens at a time.”

Animal Rising has produced a very impressive high-production video showing a summary of their findings, which expose the condition of factory farms of all types, including chickens, pigs, and salmons, all of them rubberstamped under the RSPCA Assured Scheme, which is supposed to only accept the farms with the best animal welfare. In it, activist Rose Patterson from Animal Rising, says:

“We are undertaking the largest investigation into the RSPCA in history. With over 40 Farms, over 50 investigators, hundreds of hours of footage and official published reports. By the end of this video, you will see how the world’s oldest and largest animal welfare organisation is covering up cruelty on an industrial scale and how we take matters into our own hands and save an animal from certain death… The RSPCA Assured scheme is supposed to be the gold standard of British farming and if this is the best, then I dread to see what the worst is… The RSPCA often claim that these farms are ‘just one bad apple’, but we’re seeing time and time again proving that this is not the case.”

The video also shows the rescuing of a young pig they named Charlie from one of the farms, and Patterson saying, “We shouldn’t be the ones having to rescue animals from the RSPCA. They should be rescuing animals from this industry. We’re asking them to drop the Assured scheme and start telling the truth.”

Animal Rising now has a petition people can sign to ask the RSPCA to drop their Assured scheme. In it, we can read, “Over the past four months, we have conducted the biggest investigation in UK history, covering 45 farms with 60 investigations. What we found was widespread and systemic suffering and factory farming. After seeing the footage of these investigations, RSPCA President Chris Packham has called the Assured Scheme ‘Indefensible’.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.