Mike Baker RSPCA Assured

Source: RSPCA Assured

Baker, who had served as interim CEO since March, succeeds Clive Brazier 

RSPCA Assured has appointed ex-World Animal Protection and The Brooke boss Mike Baker as its new CEO.

Baker will take up his new role on 1 December, after previously spending eight months as the farm assurance scheme’s interim CEO following the departure of Clive Brazier in March.

He boasts 25 years’ experience of working in leadership roles. Baker described his appointment as a “privilege and an honour” to lead “such a unique and dedicated charity in its mission to improve the welfare of farm animals”.

“More than 30 million farm animals, plus many millions of salmon and trout, are currently reared under the RSPCA Assured scheme. It’s an incredible achievement but we need to go even further,” he added.

“Together with the RSPCA, we want to see at least half of all farmed animals in the UK reared to the RSPCA’s welfare standards by 2030. It’s an ambitious aim, but by engaging and working together with our members, retail partners, the wider food and farming industry and the public, I’m confident it can be achieved.”

David Smith, chair of the RSPCA Assured board and head of its recruitment panel, said Baker had “excellent leadership credentials, having held CEO posts in multiple UK and international animal charities, and a track record of delivering innovative change”.

RSPCA Assured formed “an incredibly important part of the RSPCA’s strategy, and Mike presented a bold vision about how the scheme can have an even greater impact on improving the welfare of farm animals, through more effective engagement with consumers, the food and farming industry and other key stakeholders”.

His “drive and passion for transforming farm animal welfare were evident at every stage of the interview process and I’ve no doubt he will be an invaluable asset to the charity”, Smith added.

Despite the impact of the cost of living crisis, more RSPCA Assured products were now available than ever before, it said – “proof that retailers and their customers are standing firm by their animal welfare ethics”.

Earlier this year, RSPCA Assured saw a major move by M&S to sell only 100% slower-reared, higher-welfare RSPCA Assured fresh chicken, in addition to RSPCA Assured pork, farmed salmon and trout, milk and eggs.

The scheme also continued to make an impact in the discounters, with Lidl announcing a move to only stocking 100% RSPCA Assured free-range eggs by 2024.