Animal Rising, an activism group, has called on the RSPCA to drop its farm assurance scheme and has this week launched a sustained campaign of activism, including dozens of farm break-ins.

Part of the series of protests against RSPCA Assured include an attack by Animal Rising on the recently unveiled portrait of HRH King Charles, who is a patron of the RSPCA.

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Two protestors stuck the image of Wallace, from animated series Wallace and Gromit, over the portrait of the King.

Animal Rising has also launched a petition calling on the RSPCA to drop its ‘Assured’ scheme, coinciding with the charity’s 200th anniversary.

In addition, the group has released a report detailing 45 of its investigations on RSPCA Assured sites across all species, including poultry.

Report

It said the report includes “expert testimony from veterinarians and was reviewed by lawyers and a crown court judge, found 280 legal breaches on the 45 investigated farms, in addition to 94 breaches of Defra guidelines”.

In a statement, Rose Patterson, Animal Rising co-director, said: “The world’s oldest and most respected animal charity has clearly lost its way.

“The work they do for cats, dogs, and other animals is evidently not making its way to others like chickens and pigs.

“As the charity nears its 200th birthday it has a choice to make; will it step up, protect animals, and drop the Assured Scheme?”

‘Acting swiftly’

The RSPCA defended its position, with a spokesperson saying: “Any concerns about welfare on RSPCA Assured farms are taken extremely seriously and RSPCA Assured is acting swiftly to look into these allegations.

“After receiving the footage on Saturday, RSPCA Assured has launched an immediate, urgent investigation.

“We have only just received the report but if there i s any suggestion of systemic issues, we will carry out a review to ensure the integrity of the scheme.”

“Last year, 89% of the 3,842 farms assessed were successfully meeting all of the RSPCA welfare standards or had less than five standards breaches, which can be something as small as incorrect paperwork or a broken fence.

Breaches

“The majority of these breaches were resolved within 28 days of being raised.

“Twenty-three RSPCA Assured members had breaches significant enough to warrant suspension or withdrawal from the scheme, which accounts for less than 1% of the members of the scheme.

“If we stepped back from RSPCA Assured, we risk leaving millions of farmed animals with even less protection.”