Established by the RSPCA in 1994 as a higher welfare farm assurance and food labelling scheme, RSPCA Assured is the only one of its kind in the UK solely dedicated to animal welfare, and since its inception, the scheme has improved the welfare of over 700 million farmed animals – currently overseeing more than 3,600 membering partners across the UK.
More people than ever before are now looking for the assurance that their food has been sourced ethically – and the scheme’s CEO Clive Brazier is confident that RSPCA Assured does that better than others. ‘Our standards are higher than other UK food labels in many key welfare areas. Animals on Assured farms must be given plenty of space, a good diet and comfortable bedding.’
‘All RSPCA Assured members are subject to annual assessments and unannounced spot checks to ensure standards are being met. So when you see the RSPCA Assured label on eggs, fish, meat and milk, you can be sure that the farms have met our standards.’
One farmer who has brought the scheme into his business is Phillip Twizell – an egg producer from County Durham who is this year celebrating a decade of membership with the scheme.
With agriculture in his blood, Phillip began farming pigs on his land in West Newbiggin near Darlington, but yearning for a change in direction, his attention turned to free-range eggs. ’I felt I’d done all I could with the pigs, so back in 2008 I began looking for a new enterprise and hens’ eggs were it,’ says Phillip.
After buying a brood of hens and employing four part-time staff to look after them, Phillip took the plunge and set up his own egg production company – and The Good Egg Fellas was hatched. Fast-forward 10 years, and a Producer of the Year award later, and they’re one of the country’s biggest free-range egg suppliers.
Selling premium eggs to customers across the UK – including local independent bakeries and gastro pubs and bespoke London restaurants and cafés – The Good Egg Fellas pride themselves on providing good quality, good service and, above all, having good welfare standards. The latter is something Phillip believes is paramount to their success, and being a member of the RSPCA Assured scheme has only added to their cracking reputation.
‘From my point of view, the scheme is brilliant. Not only does it ensure that we’re caring for our hens properly, but it’s fantastic for public perception as it assures the consumer that our eggs have been sourced from the healthiest hens possible.’
Phillip’s hens have the freedom to roam in a natural, stimulating environment on his farm, where over 4,000 surrounding native trees provide shelter from the elements, and scratch areas create a fully enjoyable environment.
Phillip and his team head out at sunrise to feed the hens and collect their eggs, before quality checking, sorting and packaging the eggs in the farm’s warehouse, ready for distribution. With huge orders for next day delivery coming in daily, it’s certainly an around-the-clock effort.
This sort of dedication is what really makes the RSPCA Assured scheme tick, with members up and down the country putting in hours to ensure the highest standards for animal welfare. As consequence, it helps to keep local businesses at the peak of their powers, whilst providing an invaluable tool for consumers who care about the food they eat – a welcome reminder that animal welfare should always be at the fore.
The Good Egg Fellas