25 October 2001
Freedom Food under TV attack

By Adrienne Francis

ONE of the countrys biggest farm assurance schemes will be criticised in a television documentary at 7.30pm on BBC1 on Thursday (25 October).

An RSPCA Freedom Food scheme comes under fire by members of the charitys council for not guaranteeing high animal welfare standards.

The Watchdog programme shows critics from within the RSPCA claim that only 28 assessors are employed to cover 9 million animals.

Some council members claim that the scheme has cost the charity more than 12m since 1994, despite initial forecasts that it would be self-financing.

The Freedom Food scheme was intended to ensure good practice through inspections and the voluntary acceptance of high animal welfare standards.

Secret filming at Freedom Food farms appears to show that some of the schemes participants are failing to deliver promised “freedoms”.

A spokesman for the RSPCA defended the scheme, saying inspections had only fallen behind because of foot-and-mouth restrictions.

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