The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has welcomed the latest news from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) regarding the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund, labelling it “another step forward” for the welfare of farm animals.

Defra’s fund will offer farms a chance to secure grants of up to £25,000 for items of equipment that improve animal health and welfare.

Farmers, including contractors to this sector, can apply for a grant between £1,000 and £25,000 and the UK government has published a specific list of welfare-friendly items for cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and other livestock.

The RSPCA has said that the fund is “another step forward” in prioritising animal welfare and said that it follows campaigning from the charity.

Marc Cooper, head of the animal welfare charity’s farm animals department, said the grants form part of a broader UK government package that will help improve the lives of farm animals in England.

“Providing financial assistance to farmers to deliver higher welfare standards should help support the industry in meeting the UK government’s aspiration to become a world leader in farm animal welfare,” he said.

“The list of eligible equipment includes items the RSPCA suggested and supported for inclusion – including various items that will enrich the lives of farm animals.

“This welcome news marks more progress in the RSPCA’s aim of seeing an agricultural policy landscape that encourages, promotes and rewards producers for providing a better life for the animals that feed our nation.”