Outstanding contribution to animal welfare award presented at the start of British Egg Week:
Roger Gill, Agriculture Director at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, has beaten off stiff competition from 28 nominees to win the ‘outstanding contribution to animal welfare’ category, in RSPCA Assured’s first-ever awards for pig and poultry members.
“You look after her and she will look after you,” says Roger Gill, Agriculture Director at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company. It’s an attitude that guides Roger and his whole ethos to farming.
Every day is a school day for Roger who started his career in dairy farming before moving into poultry. He prides himself on constantly challenging how things are done and how they can be improved.
During his time at The Lakes, which has more than 1.8 million birds, Roger has been at the forefront of innovation. David Brass, CEO of Lakes Free Range, explains:
“In his time with us, Roger has been instrumental in turning scientific research into commercially viable high welfare systems. One example is the ‘Dark Brooding’ system where pullets are much more active and better feathered, whilst reducin
g rearing mortality by 60% and energy use by 85%.
“Invariably Roger goes that extra mile. He has an insatiable appetite to improve the lives of the birds, treading a fine line between better physical performance, better welfare and economic performance.”
RSPCA Assured’s independent panel of judges was also impressed by Roger’s pioneering of the planting of 230 thousand trees on more than 6,000 acres. Many of these trees are now maturing, absorbing Co2 and reducing the Lakes carbon footprint. One of the judges, David Main, professor of production animal health and welfare at the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester, says:
“I was really impressed by Roger’s dedication to coming up with evidence-based innovative ways to help improve the welfare of laying hens. He clearly does his homework in making sure that new things are properly trialled, to ensure they have a positive impact on the lives of hens. His contribution to bird welfare and the RSPCA Assured scheme is clearly outstanding and he very much deserves this award.”
Commenting on his win, Roger says: I joined The Lakes knowing I’d be working with a business that shared my vision to meet high welfare standards and produce sustainably. I’m really proud to be recognised for the work I, together with my colleagues, have done over the years. I’ve got a great team around me who buy into the central ethos of the business, that welfare is at the heart of everything we do”.
RSCPA Assured produced a video with Roger which can be viewed at: Poultry Welfare Award
Originally planned to be announced at the British Pig and Poultry Trade Fair 2020, the final winners in the other categories have been announced via the scheme’s website and social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
RSPCA Assured hopes to extend its awards programme to the rest of its membership in the near future. For more information about theawards, Roger and the other winners and runners up click here.