The RSPCA has published Together for Animal Welfare, its strategy for the next ten years, during which it aims to achieve eight ambitions in partnership with the veterinary profession. 

As part of its new strategy the RSPCA has also announced it is exploring the transfer of its animal welfare prosecuting role to the CPS to focus on its frontline work rescuing and caring for animals and investigating cruelty.

The ambitions announced by the charity are:

  1. Reduce cruelty by half - We’ll reduce‌ ‌neglect,‌ ‌abuse‌ ‌and‌ ‌cruelty‌ ‌to‌ ‌companion‌ ‌animals‌, ‌including‌ ‌exotic‌ ‌pets‌, ‌in‌ ‌England‌ ‌and‌ ‌Wales‌ ‌by‌ ‌50‌%.
  2. Prevent ‘petfishing’ - We’ll end‌ ‌the‌ ‌illegal‌ ‌selling‌ ‌of‌ ‌puppies‌ ‌and‌ ‌kittens‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌UK.‌
  3. Boost farm animal welfare - We’ll see more than half of all ‌UK’s‌ ‌farm‌ ‌animals‌ reared ‌to‌ ‌RSPCA‌ ‌welfare‌ ‌standards‌. We’ll ‌encourage‌ ‌people‌ ‌to:‌ ‌eat‌ ‌less, ‌eat‌ ‌better‌ ‌by‌ ‌encouraging‌ ‌people‌ ‌to‌ ‌eat‌ ‌less‌ ‌meat,‌ ‌fish,‌ ‌eggs‌ ‌and‌ ‌dairy‌ ‌from‌ ‌low‌-welfare‌ ‌farms ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌only‌ ‌choose‌ ‌higher‌-welfare‌ ‌labels.‌
  4. End severe suffering in research - We’ll secure‌ ‌a‌ ‌global‌ ‌commitment‌ ‌to‌ ‌developing,‌ ‌validating‌ ‌and‌ ‌accepting‌ ‌non-animal‌ ‌technologies‌ ‌to‌ ‌replace‌ ‌animal‌ ‌experiments,‌ ‌and‌ ‌put‌ ‌an‌ ‌end‌ ‌to‌ ‌severe‌ ‌suffering‌ ‌for‌ ‌laboratory‌ ‌animals.‌ ‌
  5. Secure legal protection for animals - Establish‌ ‌animal‌ ‌protection‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌significant‌ ‌UK‌ ‌governmental‌ ‌goal‌ ‌supported‌ ‌by‌ ‌an‌ ‌independent‌ ‌public‌ ‌body,‌ ‌legally‌ ‌established,‌ ‌an‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Protection‌ ‌Commission.‌
  6. Help our inspectors rescue animals sooner - We’ll achieve‌ ‌statutory‌ ‌powers‌ ‌in‌ ‌England‌ ‌and‌ ‌Wales‌ ‌for‌ ‌RSPCA‌ ‌inspectors‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Welfare‌ ‌Act‌ ‌2006.‌ ‌ ‌
  7. Get the UN on board for animals - We’ll secure‌ ‌the‌ ‌adoption‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌United‌ ‌Nations‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌comprehensive‌ ‌Universal‌ ‌Declaration‌ ‌on‌ ‌Animal‌ ‌Welfare.‌ ‌
  8. Inspire a one million-strong movement for animal welfare by 2030 - We’ll use our new Community Engagement Programme to mobilise more people to help us help animals.

RSPCA Chief Vet Caroline Allen said: "Our grassroots and frontline work will still be at the heart of what we do - as it has been since the RSPCA’s inception almost 200 years ago.

"The RSPCA recognises that we simply cannot perform our vital frontline work without the support and expertise of vets and vet nurses across the country. As part of this strategy we are aiming to strengthen these relationships and improve understanding and communication between the RSPCA and the veterinary professions.

"Vets and RVNs - both in private practice and within the RSPCA - play many critical roles; including providing veterinary care to abused animals rescued by the RSPCA, supporting our animal centres and our prosecution work, as well as reporting abused and neglected animals to us. 

"We know that vets and RVNs want to have a better understanding of what they can expect from us and we will provide more clarity around what we are asking of vets when they treat our animals. We will continue to draw on and support the strong and growing evidence base in the profession in areas such as shelter medicine, veterinary forensics, clinical behaviour and accessible care. 

"We know that the veterinary sector has had a tough year and we are very grateful for your continuing support of our work during the many challenges of the pandemic."

Commenting on the decision to look at transferring its animal welfare prosecuting role to the CPS, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “We are proud of our history bringing animal abusers to justice and for many years we have been the right people to do this vital work. However, the world has changed and we have to change with it.

"We launched our new strategy this week and a key part of this is working in partnership with other organisations with the responsibility and expertise to support our work. 

"The CPS is the statutory body with responsibility for taking prosecutions in England and Wales and by working more closely in partnership with them, we can free up resources to focus on our unique frontline investigation, rescue and care work, where we can make the most difference to animals.

"However, we reserve the right to take a prosecution in future if we feel that justice is not being done for animals."

The charity is also seeking statutory powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for its frontline animal rescuers.

This means that they would be able to reach animals faster, allowing them to access private land and outbuildings, although crucially not homes, if there was a reasonable expectation that an animal was suffering. 

These changes would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland and Ireland where the SPCAs have statutory powers and pass their cases to the state prosecutor.

To find out more and download the RSPCA’s new strategy, visit: 

PS: Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.