Animal health and welfare

Buying a pet at Christmas

If you are planning to buy a new puppy or kitten for Christmas, we urge you to be cautious about who you purchase from.

Due to COVID-19, we have seen an increase in disreputable sellers looking to take advantage of a recent pet price increase during lockdown. 

The Chief Veterinary Officer urges anyone looking to purchase a pet during this season: 

  • do a thorough research of the seller, both through their profile and online
  • request the animal's age and medical history - animals under 8 weeks old should not be separated from their mother
  • consider purchasing after Christmas - animals need quiet to adjust to new surroundings, and the festive period may be too busy and noisy

You can read more on the GOV.UK news story below. 

We work with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs enforcing legislation regulating the health and welfare of farm animals. This includes responding to complaints of neglect or ill treatment of livestock on farms, during transport, and at markets.

Report a problem

If you suspect a problem call us between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. All calls are treated in confidence.

If you suspect that an animal is being subjected to any form or cruelty contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on 0300 1234 999.


We enforce to protect livestock farms, farm animals and the integrity of the food chain. We aim to make it easy for businesses to meet the rules for:

  • disease control
  • animal identification
  • animal movements
  • bio-security
  • animal welfare
  • animal by-products
  • performing animals
  • importation of animals

Useful sources of information

Avian flu

In response to the increased risk level of avian flu, an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been established in Great Britain.

We advise all keepers of poultry and other captive birds to complete a biosecurity self-assessment form to help them comply with the necessary measures.

Livestock movements

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are making changes to simplify the rules on reporting livestock movements. This is to reduce the number of reports that needs to be sent to us. Changes are due to start from June 2016 and expect to be completed by Autumn 2017.

Renewal of type 1 animal transporter authorisations

The process for renewing type 1 animal transporter authorisations changed in October 2016 and they will no longer be renewed automatically.

For more information and to apply for a renewal use the GOV.UK website.