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Animal health and welfare


We monitor and enforce animal health and welfare on farms and in transit with advice on keeping and moving livestock, disposing of remains, preventing mistreatment, advice on animal passports and inspections of farms, markets and licensed premises.

Keeping and moving livestock

'Livestock' refers to sheep, goats, cattle, horses and poultry. If you keep livestock, whether it be a herd or one animal, you must be registered with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). You must also conform to legislation on animal identification and tracing.

If you think that your livestock has contracted a disease, you must report this as soon as an outbreak is suspected as many animal diseases are highly contagious. These are known as notifiable diseases and include foot and mouth disease, Bluetongue Bird Flu (Avian influenza) and Anthrax Rabies. If you suspect any signs of any notifiable diseases or have a case confirmed, you must report these immediately to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).

There is a bird flu prevention zone currently in place for the UK. Read the avian influenza guidance or for further advice contact us.

To help minimise the risk of disease and reduce the possibility of the spread of disease during an outbreak, all livestock movements require a licence and must be monitored. If you keep livestock you must keep accurate records of all movements of livestock, on and off your land, in movement record books. Movement documents for the relevant animals can be accessed below:

  • Moving sheep and goats: movements must be accompanied by an AML1 form. This form serves as a single movement reporting document, so each stage of a multiple move must be completed on a separate form. On completion of the journey, you must send the white copy to the relevant local authority at your destination within three days of arrival - Animal Reporting and Movement Service
  • Moving pigs: you can apply for a licence for pig movements through the eAML2 form. On completion of the journey, you must inform the relevant local authority at your destination within three days of arrival - Gov.uk: apply for a licence for pig movement
  • Moving cattle: cattle have individual passports which should always accompany them when they move. Cattle passports are issued shortly after birth by the British Cattle Movement Service - British Cattle Movement Service

If you keep farm animals you must keep a record on all veterinary medicines that are used to ensure that human consumption is safe, to provide evidence of treatments and to make sure that medicines are approved and used in the correct quantities. Gov.uk can provide further information on what records must be kept in relation to veterinary medicines for livestock.

Disposal of livestock remains

To avoid contamination, livestock remains must be disposed of by approved means. Gov.uk provides further details on how to dispose of livestock remains and local information on this is available by contacting your local AHVLA office.

Preventing mistreatment of livestock

To prevent the mistreatment of livestock, Animal Health Inspectors will inspect and prosecute anyone who breaks any law relating to animal treatment. If you have serious concerns about the welfare of any farm animals in your area, please contact us. Your correspondence will be dealt with in complete confidence.

Horse passports

All horses, ponies and donkeys must have a horse passport which helps to make sure that horses who are treated with certain medicines don't end up as food for people, and prevents the sale of a stolen horse, pony or donkey, as the passport proves its identity. Further information about the regulation as well as how to apply for a horse passport can be found on the GOV.UK website. Gov.uk: apply for a horse passport

Pet passports

The pet travel scheme allows pet dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and rodents to enter or re-enter the UK from the EU and a selection of long-haul destinations without having to stay in quarantine. For your pet to qualify, strict criteria must be met. Find out about the criteria and apply for a pet passport. Gov.uk: taking your pet abroad

Inspections

We visit and inspect farms, markets and licensed premises to advise businesses of their responsibilities and to ensure that current legislation is being met. We also offer advice and assistance to farmers and the livestock industry so that you comply with your statutory obligations, and will investigate any breaches of legislation on farms and at licensed premises.

During a scheduled visit to a farm, we will check all livestock related documentation including flock and herd registers, movement records, veterinary medicine records, animal by-product records and feed hygiene records. Stock on the holding will also be checked on welfare and to ascertain whether the stock is correctly identified.

Complaints

Please contact the following people for complaints:

  • Those related to farms, transport of animals, the mistreatment of livestock, animal carcasses and against licensed premises should contact us.
  • Those related to the welfare of dogs and cats (outside of licensed premises), please contact the RSPCA.
  • Those related to the welfare of horses, contact the RSPCA or the The British Horse Society.
Contact us
Animal health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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