S officers e a e ith i dustry
Good fish welfare e uals good uality so there has always been a commercial reason for salmon farmers to look a er their stock, says the RSPCA s Ian Michie. Survival and growth meant welfare, it was the same thing. But over time that has changed welfare is an additional part in terms of the wellbeing of the animal, not just part of the production process but a moral obligation.
Michie is a new farm livestock o cer for the RSPCA but he was a fish farm manager for Marine Harvest for many years so knows the industry inside out.
He will be carrying out assessments on salmon and trout farms approved under the charity s farm assurance scheme RSPCA Assured, and was one of two o cers appointed last November.
The second, Eoina Rodgers, has joined the RSPCA s farm animals department as a scientific o cer specialising in a uaculture.
Both are based in Scotland where the majority of the RSPCA Assured salmon and trout producers are based.
Michie, who lives in Ardanmurchan, was in Krkney when Fish Farmer caught up with him. His role involves monitoring farms to give additional assurance that standards are being maintained to the RSPCA Assured, previously called Freedom Food, ethical food label.
His visits, which take place between annual inspections and are unannounced, provide a twoway line of communication.
hnlike an inspector, who has to objectively assess against the written standard, I can engage in discussion about what the standard is and why it s there.
He has been to a lot of farms since November and seen uite a few people he worked with in the industry. They aren t surprised to see him in his new role, he says, because welfare and farming go hand in hand. When the Farm Animal Welfare Council produced their recommendations for a uaculture
Left: Eoina Rodgers. Above: Ian Michie