RSPCA Assured pauses new laying hen standards until February 2025

Published on : 29 Apr 2024

Over the coming months, the RSPCA and RSPCA Assured will be offering in person meetings to producers

RSPCA is extending the recently announced pause to its new revisions for nine more months. This means producers can continue to use the current version of the standards, published in 2017, until 1 February 2025. 

The extended pause follows RSPCA Assured'sAssured's original announcement in March this year that it would be pausing the implementation of the standards for three months (from May 2024 to August 2024) in response to member and industry feedback.

Kelly Grellier, interim chief operations officer at RSPCA Assured, said: ""Our members are fundamental in helping us improve hen welfare. Therefore, ensuring we listen to them and provide proper support to help them meet the new standards is our top priority. To do this effectively, we have to be flexible. Extending the current pause until 2025 will give us more time to talk to more members and offer more support tailored to their specific needs.""

Over the coming months, the RSPCA and RSPCA Assured will be offering in person meetings to producers. These will aim to fully understand producers'producers' challenges and work with them to find practical solutions to help them achieve the new standards.
RSPCA Assured and the RSPCA say they will also be developing UK-based case studies to demonstrate how natural daylight can be practically applied in a variety of laying hen farming systems, such as multi-tiered, flat deck, free range and barn.  

The development of case studies will be ongoing over the next few years. When each case study is completed, it will be shared with both RSPCA Assured members and the industry. 

""In addition to case studies and in-person support, we will continue to review how we can improve engagement with members and the industry when developing new standards."" Kelly continued. 

BFREPA and BEIC issued a joint statement, "Industry bodies have been liaising closely over the RSPCA Assured's amended laying hen welfare standards. While we appreciate the pause in the implementation date and the commitment to engage with us in person, we still have serious concerns over a number of the standards that, as it currently stands, will come into force in February 2025.

"We have responded to RSPCA Assured with a clear request that if any issues are identified with the new standards during the consultation/engagement period that do not deliver a demonstrable welfare benefit, that these will be reviewed. This is based on the industry's view that the welfare benefit to the birds of some of the new standards may not be practical, achievable or beneficial.

"We remain committed to high laying hen welfare standards and look forward to a meaningful dialogue with RSPCA Assured on its new standards over the coming months."