AssureWel is a 5 year (2010-2015) collaborative project led by the RSPCA, Soil Association and University of Bristol, supported by the Tubney Charitable Trust. Its main aim is to develop a practical system of welfare outcome assessment for the major farm animal species, which can be used in farm assurance schemes.
The AssureWel system of welfare outcome assessment will be first field-tested and introduced within the RSPCA Freedom Food and Soil Association Certification farm assurance schemes. These schemes will use welfare outcome assessment to help assess compliance with their scheme's standards. Producers can be given feedback (including benchmarking) to help monitor and improve welfare on their farm. Advice and support will also be given to producers and producer groups to help further improve welfare. Welfare outcome data can also be used by the scheme's to inform standards development.
Planned timeline for introduction of welfare outcome assessment into the RSPCA and Soil Association schemes:
The project also supports other farm assurance schemes in using welfare outcome assessment to its full potential to improve farm animal welfare, and encourages the use of the AssureWel approach.
A summary of the other objectives of the AssureWel project:
- Develop training in welfare outcome assessment for vets, advisers and inspectors.
- Encourage the use of welfare outcomes in other UK and European farm assurance schemes.
- Research and develop a broiler chicken welfare label based on method of production with outcome safeguards.