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Farm Assessments During the High Risk Avian Influenza Period

As we face the new reality of increased AI outbreaks, we need to learn different ways of working to help keep flocks safe.

To support our members in areas where devolved governments have introduced housing orders, we have developed a new approach to our regular assessments. This new approach ensures the integrity of the RSPCA Assured scheme and your business while allowing us to do everything we possibly can to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

From 16 October 2023, all RSPCA Assured members will receive an onsite visit for their annual assessment (unless you’re within a 10km or 3km AI control zone).

Please note, to ensure the integrity of the RSPCA Assured scheme,

  • new applications,
  • seasonal turkey production members (may be able to benefit from a desktop assessment if the farm is within 10km of a surveillance zone or 3km of a protection zone), 
  • members involved in active complaints or incidents,
  • members with current sanctions in place, or
  • members who have received sanctions within the previous two years,

will not be able to defer their in-person assessment or receive a Virtual Visit.

Option 1 - A standard in-person assessment, following strict biosecurity procedures
  • Onsite visits during a housing order are conducted at no additional cost.
  • All assessors have the necessary PPE and DEFRA-approved disinfectants.
  • Assessors follow all site-specific biosecurity requirements communicated when the assessment is booked.
  • All assessors have received training on the pathology and transmission of AI and improved biosecurity.
Option 2 - Deferring your in-person assessment and opting for an interim virtual visit
  • You may choose to defer your in-person site visit until the housing order is lifted or until later in the AI high-risk period.
  • The maximum deferral period cannot be more than 14 months since your last in-person assessment.
  • Once we have decided to defer your in-person visit, you will receive an interim virtual visit instead.
  • When a virtual visit is requested, it incurs an additional cost of £70 plus VAT.


Virtual Visits

A Virtual Visit with an RSPCA Assured assessor will focus on bird health and welfare and should take around 45 minutes - but you should allow up to an hour for any additional questions or discussion.

You’ll need to be able to take part in a video conference call using WhatsApp (or an alternative video call application) and walk around to show the assessor different areas of your site.

If you don’t have a stable wifi or mobile network connection available, you can provide short pre-recorded video clips instead.

We’ll call you to arrange and discuss the Virtual Visit beforehand, providing full details of what’s involved.


Assessments in AI Control Zones

If your assessment is due when your site is in an AI control zone, we will progress your assessment in one of the following ways:

  • An on-site assessment
  • A desktop assessment - counts as a full assessment

RSPCA Assured certification can only be renewed following an in-person assessment, or a desktop assessment if your farm is within 10km of a confirmed outbreak.

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