RSPCA UK President calls for halt to ‘catastrophic’ expansion of Scottish salmon farms - immediately contradicted by RSPCA spokesperson.


Respected broadcaster and UK RSPCA president Chris Packham is reported in The Guardian saying a moratorium is needed as mortality rates jump, while activists question the RSPCA's role in certifying farms.

In a newsletter to supporters of Animal Equality, Packham urged them to donate to the charity to halt the expansion of the Scottish salmon farming industry. "Millions of fish are dying prematurely, parasites and diseases are out of control, and Scotland's natural environment is suffering as farm waste blights the seabed," Packham wrote. He said he was "speaking as a leading campaigner" for animal protection and broader ecological conservation. "Escapes and interbreeding with wild fish is leading to compromised fitness and increased sea-lice risks for wild populations," he said.

Animal rights campaigners welcomed his calls for better regulation, enforcement and a halt to the growth of the industry, but said his comments highlight the "untenable position" of the RSPCA's welfare stamp of approval scheme for salmon farms.

RSPCA UK received £700,000 in membership and licence fees in 2022 from salmon farmers and producers as part of its RSPCA Assured scheme. Nearly 100% of Scottish farmed salmon is produced under the scheme.

An RSPCA UK spokesperson said that Packham's letter was written in a personal capacity, adding that his role at the charity was "non governance". In a statement, the RSPCA said they created the world's first welfare standards for salmon produced in the UK, in response to the absence of specific legislation. All standard breaches and cases of high mortality were looked into and members suspended to allow investigation and appropriate action taken to rectify failings, the spokesperson said. It had not been necessary to permanently exclude any members, but the RSPCA would not hesitate to do so, if a farm could not rectify problems.

Full report in The Guardian

NOFF has challenged RSPCA Australia about their certification scheme here, and made representations on this to the Federal Government's Greenwashing enquiry.