Egg producers who are members of the RSPCA Assured scheme will have to pay double their current fees from September.
From September, the fee for laying hen members with up to 6,000 birds will rise from £142.80 to £299. Additional multiples of 6,000 birds will continue to be charged £68.40. Fees for pullet and turkey members with up to 12,000 birds will also rise from £142.80 to £299, and the cost for poultry catching team assurance provided for members of the chicken and duck scheme will rise from £142.80 to £299, with additional teams adding £68.40 to the cost.
“We completely understand that it is never good news to hear that prices are increasing. It’s not something we want to be doing and isn’t a decision we have taken lightly,” said a spokeswoman for RSPCA Assured. “We are very mindful of the difficult financial challenges faced by many of our members and always work hard to offer the very best service we can, at the most reasonable cost.
“However, with rising inflation and other operating costs – which have risen by nearly 50% over the last five years – a huge strain has been put on our resources. As such, as a non-profit-making charity, we now have no option but to increase our fees. This is to ensure we can continue offering the best higher welfare assurance scheme and service to our members that we can.
“It’s the first increase we have made in nine years and we have kept it to the absolute minimum. The fees only partly cover the cost of assessments, whilst we subsidise the rest. And, as a charity, we plough all income from the fees directly back into the running of RSPCA Assured and helping improve farm animal welfare – we do not profit from them.
“It is regrettable that some members may find the increase difficult but, in comparison to other farm assurance schemes, we remain highly competitive and represent very good value for the service we deliver and the certification mark we provide.”