Our animal health and welfare duties include:
- The welfare of animals at market. For example, are the animals fit to be at market, are animals being handled correctly, are the pens sufficient for the species in question?
- The welfare of animals at slaughterhouses and hunt kennels. For example, ensuring that animals are unloaded as soon as possible, when unloaded that the animals are protected from adverse weather conditions.
On-farm checks form the majority of our animal health and welfare work. All farms are risk assessed, taking into account several issues, which include the type and number of livestock and history of compliance.
Depending upon the risk assessment score, farms are visited every year, 2 years or 5 years with 1 (working) week notice given of the impending visit, which will be arranged for a mutually convenient time.
Occasionally, farms will get more frequent or unannounced visits, for example if a complaint is received or as a result of the farm being selected to take part in a survey, or to ensure that adequate cleansing and disinfecting has been carried out on vehicles following a visit to a slaughterhouse
On-farm checks focus on the following:
- Records - a wide variety of records are required to be kept, such as animal movement records, to allow animals to be traced in the event of disease outbreak, veterinary medicine records which must be kept for animals intended for the human food chain and transportation records such as animal transport certificates and journey plans.
- Livestock - animal identification i.e. tagging, animal husbandry i.e. the 5 Freedoms and carcass disposal methods.
- Transport - the construction and use of vehicles are checked to ensure that they do not present a risk to the animals being moved in them. For example, there a supply of fresh air, there aren't any extrusions which could injure the animal, that the loading ramp is slip-proof, the vehicle has been adequate cleansed and disinfected.
These responsibilities are not unique to Local Authorities.
BCMS may also visit your farm and check the requirements relating to cattle identification. For example, are cattle correctly tagged, are records completed within the specified timeframe.
DEFRA also have a planned programme of inspections when they may also check animal welfare, movement records and carry out TB testing.
To avoid inconvenience to the farmer we liaise with DEFRA and BCMS advising them of our planned programme of visits.