Farm assurance schemes

BVA's #ChooseAssured campaign

As part of this campaign, we want to encourage the veterinary profession and the wider public to #ChooseAssured by purchasing animal-derived products that are farm assured. Through the campaign we hope to raise awareness of the great work of the UK’s farm assurance schemes and the crucial work of vets within the schemes to safeguard high animal health and welfare.

Fundamentally, we want to inspire informed choice amongst consumers when buying animal-derived food products and aim to provide the wider public with guiding principles to help them to consider how different assurance schemes address their individual priorities for animal health and welfare.

Following the actions set out in the BVA Animal Welfare Strategy, BVA developed a policy position on farm assurance schemes and a UK Farm Assurance Schemes infographic (PDF 1.46 MB) to inform consumers about the value of veterinary involvement in these schemes, as well as how schemes address different priorities for animal health and welfare.

How you can take part in the #ChooseAssured campaign:

  • Use the BVA UK Farm Assurance Schemes infographic (PDF 1.46 MB) to inform your own purchases and share with friends, family and colleagues.
  • Share the infographic on social media to spread awareness using the #ChooseAssured hashtag.
  • Display the infographic in your staff room, waiting room or even on the communal fridge to get the message out there.

What are farm assurance schemes?

Farm assurance schemes enable customers, to make sustainable and ethically informed choices about the food products they buy and the impact of these products on animal health and welfare.

Assurance schemes allow producers to demonstrate that their food products, both animal and non-animal derived, have met specific, independently certified standards at each stage of the supply chain from ‘farm to fork’. These standards include, but are not limited to, animal health and welfare, food safety, stockmanship training and competencies and environmental protection.

What farm assurance schemes should I look out for?

BVA has set out seven guiding principles to help consumers consider how different farm assurance schemes address their individual priorities for animal health and welfare. These include:

You can read more about each principle in the full BVA farm assurance schemes policy position (PDF 156 KB).

What do the main UK farm assurance schemes cover

We have developed an infographic (PDF 1.46 MB) to help consumers better understand how the farm assurance schemes we see most frequently on food packaging address BVA’s priorities for farm animal welfare.

All farm assurance schemes do great work to safeguard animal health and welfare; our infographic aims to help consumers better understand how schemes do this and make an informed choice about the animal derived products they are buying. The infographic covers:

  • Stunning before slaughter
  • Veterinary involvement
  • Behavioural opportunity
  • Responsible use of antimicrobials
  • Animal health and biosecurity
  • Lifetime assurance
  • Measures to protect the environment

NB Products may be assured by more than one of these schemes or an assurance scheme not addressed in this infographic. Please check the label of food products carefully.

What does the veterinary profession think about farm assurance schemes?

91% of vets we surveyed told us that they felt that farm assurance schemes made a positive contribution to animal health and welfare in the UK. In addition 58% of vets surveyed said they check that their food is assured by a farm assurance scheme most or all of the time. 

Within the farm assurance schemes themselves, the veterinary profession also carries out an important and multifaceted role in the development, implementation and continuous review of scheme standards. Veterinary professionals are involved across the farm assurance process, from establishing and evaluating the standards that farm assurance schemes require, to developing veterinary health plans with farmers to promote compliance and facilitating cost-effective stockmanship and husbandry practices.

The veterinary profession also has a key role to play in informing and educating the public with regard to the value and provenance of animal derived food.

As such, BVA has a responsibility to assist members to understand different farm assurance schemes and to signpost the public, in a professional and ethically justifiable way, towards those that promote higher animal health and welfare, as we are doing in our #ChooseAssured campaign.

Additional resources