Opinion Former Article

RSPCA: "The only way is ethics!"

Ethics in food and fashion are more important than ever, say consumers.

While most people are feeling the pinch during these difficult economic times, they haven’t stopped caring about their fellow creatures – of both the human and animal variety!

As the ethical fashion and food categories of the RSPCA Good Business Awards are launched today, companies are finding that being animal welfare-friendly is better for business than it has ever been.

Designer and co-founder of Red or Dead Wayne Hemingway, an RSPCA Good Business Awards fashion judge, said: “It’s no longer acceptable to sell goods without proving their provenance, as shoppers continue to be concerned about the origin of the items they purchase and the production process behind them.”

The UK often leads the way when it comes to animal welfare in the worlds of both food and fashion.

Food for thought

The RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme has reported a 52% increase in animals farmed under their welfare label over the last five years.

Latest available figures from RSPCA show a rise in animal numbers reared under Freedom Food (its own higher welfare scheme) from around 49million at the end of 2006, to more than 75million at the end of last year. This means that about 26million more animals are now benefitting from being reared to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards compared to five years ago. 

Food judge, journalist and TV presenter Richard Johnson said: “Good animal welfare now makes real business sense. It also makes a real point-of-difference in a very competitive market place.

Fashionably ethical

The search is now on for fashion companies that have animal welfare at the heart of their practices. Strong public opposition to the use of fur and calls for better traceability shows that the fashion companies who excelled at last year’s RSPCA Good Business Awards know what consumers want.

Winners included British fashion company Rapanui, which was given the Innovation award for its use of QR codes (a type of bar code) on product labels. Customers can scan the tag using a smart phone to view interactive information about the origins of the raw materials in the garment. At the time judges described the idea as ‘game changing’.

Businesses worthy of the Good Business Award accolade show a commitment to not using fur, exotic skins or karakul lambskin pelts and must have a policy on sourcing merino wool.

Is your business ethical or are you chicken?

In order to mark the launch of the RSPCA’s Good Business Award, up-and-coming sculptor Mark O’Brien caused a flap among Londoners this week when his giant chicken – made entirely out of recycled card – crossed many an iconic road. 

The feathered friend was seen spreading the GBA message from Cock Lane to Abbey Road.

For more information and to enter log onto www.rspcagoodbusinessawards.com. To find out more about ethical food and fashion go to www.goodthings.org.uk.




Notes to editors


Interviews are available. Please contact the press office on 0300 123 0244 or email press@rspca.org.uk


The RSPCA will only accept applications from fashion companies that:

— Do not use fur

— Do not use Karakul lambskin pelts

— Do not use exotic skins

— Have a policy on sourcing merino wool.


The RSPCA will only accept applications from retailers, restaurants pubs and caterers that:

— Do not sell or serve foie gras.

— Do not sell or serve white veal.

— Only sell or serve meat from animals that have been pre-stunned before slaughter.


Winners will be promoted on the RSPCA Good Business Awards website and achievements will be detailed in a consumer guide to choosing higher welfare companies.



RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk

Save the Date! RSPCA Week 30 April - 6 May 2012 Visit www.rspcaweek.org.uk to download your guide to fundraising!
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals registered charity no: 219099 Registered office: RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS 

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