Rest As­sured

S of­fi­cers e a e ith i dus­try

Fish Farmer - - Opinion -

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

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