Animal health and welfare

Latest advice from gov.uk

We work with the Department for Environment Food & 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.

COVID-19 update

Companion animals frequently asked questions (16 April 2020)

Can licences issued under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 be extended?

In these unprecedented times of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic we recognise that local authorities are under considerable pressure regarding licences issued under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Some local authorities may wish to extend licences as a result for three months to reduce the need for inspection and the risks involved while the outbreak continues. Regulation 9 allows local authorities to vary licences with the consent in writing (including email) of the licence holder or where the licence holder makes an application. Local authorities may wish to consider using this facility for extending licences for three months where this is deemed necessary.

Can an animal breeder continue with their business?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 350) details the prescribed restrictions in place as part of the Governments response to tackle Coronavirus.

Regulation 5 (1) requires that a person responsible for carrying on a business offering goods for sale or for hire in a shop (if not listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2), must cease trade.

Most Breeders will not be offering for sale via a shop, as such, it is considered that they can continue in business at this time.

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019 No 1093), commonly known as Lucy’s Law, prohibits the sale of kittens and puppies from third party sellers and pet shops from the 1 April 2020, as such, all puppies and kittens must be sold directly from the breeder and the mother must be seen with the offspring prior to sale.

With consideration to Regulation 6 of the legislation, and the restrictions on movement, a journey, whose primary purpose is to collect an animal from a breeder is not permitted during the emergency period.

It is recognised that this may create animal welfare matters where there is a surplus of animals that can not be homed during this time.

It is advised that all breeders should consider the necessity to continue with their breeding programme over the next six months, where they have limited opportunity to sell animals. The owners of the animals will always have a duty of care and legal responsibility under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the welfare of their animals, which would include any offspring, and they should take appropriate steps to cease trade if it is they cannot maintain the welfare needs of any animal under their control during this time.

With regards the sale of animals at present, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018:486) makes it a requirement that the mother must be seen with a kitten or a puppy at the point of sale, as such it is considered that to avoid potential welfare problems with the sale of these animals from breeders during the emergency response and the need for social distancing, video footage is shared by the breeder of the offspring with their mother prior to the sale.

With regards the movement restrictions, it is considered that as breeders are not listed as a business referred to in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020,  they should deliver any puppies or kittens that they are selling to the buyers directly as they are permitted to travel for the purposes of work (Regulation 6 (2) (f) ) and this is in spirit of the principals of Regulation 5 (1) (a).

Where a breeder does undertake delivery and the journey will be over 40 miles (65kms), it is considered that they will be caught by the rules relating to the Welfare of Animals in Transport EU Regulation 1/2005 and it is advised that they seek authorisation with the APHA Welfare of Animals in Transport Team (WIT).

Application form

Pet shops are listed at Paragraph 38 of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, as such they may continue to be open to the public and operate for the sale of other small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs etc, however it is considered that any journey whose primary purpose is solely for the purchase of a pet animal would be a breach of the movements restrictions in place during the emergency response as it is not essential travel.

Can puppies be collected from a breeder?

No, with consideration to Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, there is no permitted movement allowed for the collection of any animal from a seller during the emergency period.

It is advised that where a puppy is being purchased from a breeder, video footage is shared by the breeder of the offspring with their mother prior to the sale and that the breeder should deliver any puppies or kittens that they are selling to the buyers directly as they are permitted to travel for the purposes of work (Regulation 6 (2) (f) ) and this is in the spirit of the principals of Regulation 5 (1) (a).

Where a breeder does undertake delivery and the journey will be over 40 miles (65kms) , it is considered that they will be caught by the rules relating to the Welfare of Animals in Transport EU Regulation 1/2005 and it is advised that they seek authorisation with the APHA Welfare of Animals in Transport Team (WIT).

application form

Can pet-animals be collected from a pet shop?

Pet shops are permitted to remain open at present, however it is considered that the journey being solely for the purchase of a pet animal would be a breach of the movements on restrictions as it is not essential travel. If the primary purpose for attending the pet shop is to buy food for pet animals, then this would be deemed as acceptable.

Can a person attend to their horse?

Yes, it is considered that as the owner or keeper of an animal, there is a statutory duty of care with regards Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, as such, taking into consideration this legal obligation, this is permitted in accordance with Regulation 6 (2) (h) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

Can a person ride their horse?

Yes, it is considered that subject to this being part of the daily exercise referred to in Regulation 6 (2) (b) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, this is permitted.

Is a pet sales licence required to sell poultry?

It is considered that as most people who will be buying poultry will do so for the purposes of egg production, then a licence is not required.

Can home boarders exceed their licence to care for animals of key workers?

It is considered that this is a matter to be determined at a local level based upon prior history of the business and their level of previous compliance. There is a need to be mindful of the welfare implications to the animals under the charge of the home boarder and home boarders should prioritise the care of those animals who belong to key workers should this become an issue.  Where a home boarder is not able to sufficiently protect the interest of the animals under their charge, alternative care arrangements must be sourced.

Can a rescue centre still rehome animals?

It is considered that a rescue centre, regardless of if it is a registered charity, is still operating as a business, albeit in the rehoming of animals.

With regards the movement restrictions, it is considered that as a rescue centre is not listed as a business referred to in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, they should deliver any animals that they are being rehomed as they are permitted to travel for the purposes of work (Regulation 6 (2) (f) ) and this is in the spirit of the principals of Regulation 5 (1) (a).

Where a rehoming centre does undertake delivery and the journey will be over 40 miles (65kms), they will be caught by the rules relating to the Welfare of Animals in Transport EU Regulation 1/2005 and it is advised that they seek authorisation with the APHA Welfare of Animals in Transport Team (WIT).

Application form

It is advised that any required home inspection is evidenced through video footage provided to the rescue centre rather than a home visit and no person should be visiting a rescue centre to choose a new pet for re-homing as it is considered that this movement would be in breach or regulation 6 and the restrictions on movement.

Can dog groomers still operate?

Advice has been sourced from the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) with regards this, and it is agreed that at present, the earlier advice offered by the NAHWP was correct.

Yes, dog groomers can continue to operate. The business is not subject to the closure restrictions as detailed in the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, as such they can continue operating.

With regards the movement restrictions, it is considered that as a dog groomer is not listed as a business referred to in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of, they should collect and deliver any animals that they are being taken to a salon for grooming as they are permitted to travel for the purposes of work (Regulation 6 (2) (f) ) and this is in the spirit of the principles of Regulation 5 (1) (a) for otherwise providing services.

Where a dog groomer does undertake transportation, it is considered that they will be caught by the rules relating to the Welfare of Animals in Transport EU Regulation 1/2005 and it is advised if the journey is over 65km (40 miles) that they seek authorisation with the APHA Welfare of Animals in Transport Team (WIT).

Application form

It is not permitted for a person to take their dog to a groomers by vehicle, however they may be able to walk to the business as part of their daily exercise.

Likewise, dog groomers that are based in pet shops can also continue to operate, however travel for this would not permitted if the primary purpose is purely for the use of the dog grooming service.

Mobile dog grooming is also considered eligible to continue trade subject to them following public health advice regarding social distancing.  This should be considered on a case by case basis.  This journey would be permitted for the purposes of work Regulation 6 (2) (f) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

CFSG guidance was updated in conjunction with DEFRA  on 7.4.2020

CFSG guidance

Can dog walking services be provided?

The advice from Defra at present is that yes, subject to public health rules being maintained including social distancing, dog walking services may still be provided.

Further guidance – gov.uk website.

Can a person that does not require a licence for breeding have people collect puppies or deliver them?

No, as this is not a licensed breeder, it has been considered that as this is not for the purpose of work and therefore collection or delivery would not be permitted for the purposes Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

Can a professional dog walker drive to exercise their dog?

Where a professional dog walker undertakes a journey to exercise dogs as part of their work drives to a location for this exercise and there is no alternative way in which dogs could be exercised, this may be considered a reasonable excuse in accordance with regulation 6 (2) (f) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 as the travel is for the purpose of work and it is not possible for the person to provide that service from where they are living.

Should a person groom their own dog?

Intelligence suggests that a number of people have taken to buying pet grooming kits online in order to self-groom their pets due to movement restrictions resulting from Covid 19.

Dog grooming is not a regulated activity and as such, whilst anyone can undertake this role, it is advised that for animal welfare reasons, only a person with appropriate skill and training should groom an animal.

Dog groomers are permitted to operate, and advice has been provided relating to this in these FAQ’s.  Where the services of a dog groomer cannot be obtained from a persons usual service provider, it is suggested that they try to find an alternative service provider that has the relevant experience and training to avoid the risk of any unnecessary suffering inadvertently being caused to their animal.

For further enquiries call 01934 888 802.

Report a problem

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

Council Connect

01934 888 802

trading.standards@n-somerset.gov.uk

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

Enforcement

We enforce to protect livestock farms, farm animals and the integrity of the food chain.  It is our 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 rules.

Useful sources of information

Avian flu

For the latest information use:

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.

For more information use the: 

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.