RSPCA ASSURED has said it will begin to roll out “contactless” on-farm assessments from 1 June.

The scheme moved to virtual assessments when the UK government imposed a lockdown in late March but said at the time it aimed to restart physical inspections as soon as possible.

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Initially, assessors will only visit farms with the consent of farmers, and the RSPCA said strict social distancing measures would be in place in line with government guidelines.

The scheme has developed “contactless guidelines” for its assessments, which include asking inspectors to take their temperature and wear PPE throughout.

The RSPCA’s plan for a phased return of physical inspections

Safe space

Members will be asked to prepare a safe area for paperwork, medicines and equipment to be reviewed away from farm staff and to open gates and doors for assessors.

Clive Brazier, RSPCA Assured chief executive, said: “The welfare of the animals and producers in our scheme remains our priority.

“Members should be reassured that at every phase of our return to in-person assessments, we will be following the latest Government advice.

“If that advice means we have to go back a phase, then that’s what we will do.

Return to ‘normal’

“All of us at RSPCA Assured are impressed at how well our members have adjusted to virtual audits during this challenging time.

“I hope news of our plan to return to ‘normal’, shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this difficult time by continuing to work together.”