In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the RSPCA has had to make some necessary changes to our operations to minimise the possible risk to our staff as well as our fellow Australians. Whilst the majority of the team at RSPCA Australia are able to work safely from home, COVID-19 has necessitated a change to how we manage assessments of farms participating in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.
Our robust on site assessment of farms to the RSPCA’s Standards is a critical aspect of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, of which we are very proud of. In normal circumstances, farms are visited by RSPCA Assessors 2 times a year, at a minimum. COVID-19 has meant assessing on site is not currently an option, as such our team is exploring alternate ways to conduct scheduled assessments remotely. We will provide further updates on this in time.
Update as of 17 April 2020. The Approved Farming Scheme has implemented a remote assessment policy and procedure, and the Scheme’s assessors have subsequently completed training to facilitate remote assessments during the current COVID-19 pandemic. These remote assessments will include the submission of information and evidence by participating producers and review by our qualified assessors and further evaluation by our certification team. Whilst remote assessments won’t replicate the value of having our Assessors on site, the RSPCA believes these will give us confidence in this current environment of conformance with the Standards.
Update as of 2 November 2020. The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme has been successfully conducting remote assessments during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in some states there is a gradual return to on farm assessments. The welfare of animals and the safety of our Assessors and participating producers is of upmost importance during this period, and so on farm assessments are in line with relevant COVID-19 restrictions. Where RSPCA Assessors are unable to return to farms yet, remote assessments will continue to be conducted to check for conformance with the Standards.
In addition to the ongoing implementation of remote assessments on farm, a remote assessment procedure has now also been implemented for abattoirs that continue to be closed to external visitors, in order to assess conformance with the slaughter standards.
While improving the lives of farm animals is core to our mission, the wellbeing of our staff and those who we work with in the farming community is critical to ensuring the future of our work. If you are feeling at all impacted by COVID-19 we encourage you to reach out to the below services.
National Coronavirus Helpline
Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
1800 020 080
Head to Health
Check out the Department of Health’s Head to Health website for links to mental health resources and support.
Call this line if you are requiring crisis support. The line will continue to operate as normal.
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