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Animal health and welfare

Animal health and welfare


Animal health inspections

Trading Standards’ Animal Health Inspectors enforce farm animal health legislation. Their duties include:

  • inspecting farms, markets and vehicles
  • enforcing animal feedstuffs legislation and issuing ‘On farm mixers’ licences.

Preventing mistreatment of animals

Animal Health Inspectors investigate the mistreatment of livestock, and will prosecute owners if they break laws about animal treatment.

‘Livestock’ refers to sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, deer, horses and poultry.

If you have serious concerns about the welfare of farm animals in your area, please contact our duty team. All correspondence will be dealt with in complete confidence.

If you are concerned about the welfare other animals, including pets, please contact the RSPCA.


Keeping and moving animals

Trading Standards’ Animal Health Inspectors enforce farm animal health legislation. Their duties include:

  • inspecting farms, markets and vehicles
  • issuing licences for movement of livestock.

Keeping livestock

‘Livestock’ refers to sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, deer, horses and poultry.

All keepers of livestock, whether they have a whole herd or just one animal (for poultry, 50 or more birds), must be registered with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

You must also conform to legislation on animal identification and tracing. For full details on tagging and registering livestock see the GOV.UK website:

For more information about the law regarding the keeping of animals, including journey times and the types of transportation required, see Animals and agriculture.

Horse passports

All horses, ponies and donkeys must have animal passports. For information about the regulations and how to apply, see getting and using a horse passport.

Pet passports

New rules apply from 1st January 2021 when travelling with your pet between Great Britain (GB) and abroad. To allow pets to enter GB without having to stay in quarantine, strict criteria must be met. See bringing your pet to Great Britain and taking your pet abroad.

Animal feed

If your business transports animal feed, you must be registered with Trading Standards and comply with animal feed regulations.

To find out how to register and download forms, see our page animal feed.

Disposal of livestock remains

To avoid contamination, livestock remains must be disposed of by approved means. For details, see disposal of animal by-products and fallen stock.


Animal feed

Many contagious diseases are passed to livestock through the food chain. To prevent this, our Trading Standards’ Animal Health Inspectors:

  • carry out regular inspections of both producers and users of animal foodstuffs
  • enforce animal feedstuffs legislation

Current EC regulations relating to animal foodstuffs came into force on 1 January 2006 and were fully implemented in England on 1 January 2008.

What businesses must do

Businesses involved in the production, use, transportation, storage or marketing of animal feeds must be registered with Trading Standards and must comply with animal feed regulations. If your business is involved in animal foodstuffs, you need to:

  1. Register with or be approved by an appropriate agency, and
  2. Submit a statement of compliance.

Apply for registration or approval

A complete list of businesses that must register or be approved can be downloaded below. They include:

  • livestock farms
  • arable farms growing crops for feed use
  • companies that transport or store animal feed
  • food manufacturers selling by-products of food production into the feed chain
  • retailers and wholesalers of animal feed (excluding pet food)
  • pharmacists who supply mineral and vitamin supplements for animals.

To be registered or approved by Trading Standards, businesses must meet specific requirements in Feed Hygiene Regulation 183/2005.

Note: ‘Primary production’ means the production, rearing and growing of basic ingredients including harvesting, milking and farming animals prior to slaughter. It also includes hunting and fishing and the harvesting of wild products.

  1. Annex 1 Standards Applicable at the Level of Primary Production
  2. Annex 2 Standards Applicable to Non-primary Production
  3. Annex 3 Good Animal Feeding Practice
  4. Complete list of activities requiring registration or approval

If you are not already registered, you should complete the registration form below and send it to Trading Standards without delay.

Statement of compliance

Businesses involved in animal foodstuffs are also required to submit a statement of compliance to Trading Standards, stating that they comply with the Feed Hygiene Regulation (183/2005).

This regulation specifies standards for facilities, storage, personnel and record-keeping. It applies to all businesses in the feed chain, including food manufacturers selling by-products of food production into the feed chain and all livestock and some arable farmers.

If you have not already done so, please complete the statement of compliance form below and send it to Trading Standards.

Feeding swill to farm animals

Feeding catering waste as swill to farm animals is allowed only under tightly controlled circumstances. See the national guidance on supplying and using animal by-products as farm animal feed.

Further Information

Business Companion – Animals and Agriculture

Please contact our duty team if you have any questions about registering your animal feed business.


Licences for performing animals

If you intend to exhibit or train animals for public performance – for example, in school shows, television, theatre or in a film production – you must apply for a licence from your local District or Borough Council.


Reporting notifiable animal diseases

Many animal diseases are highly contagious and must be reported as soon as an outbreak is suspected. These are known as notifiable diseases.

List of diseases

Notifiable diseases include:

  • Bluetongue
  • Bird flu (Avian influenza)
  • Anthrax
  • Rabies

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website has a full list of notifiable diseases.

How to report diseases

If you suspect signs of any of these notifiable diseases, or have a case confirmed, you must report this immediately to a:

Our Trading Standards and Emergency Planning teams are responsible for dealing with outbreaks of diseases, outlined in the Animal Diseases Plan.

Monitoring animal movements and feed

To prevent the spread of disease, all livestock movements and animal feed must be monitored.

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