Beef cattle and dairy cows: on-farm welfare

How to keep beef cattle and dairy cows on a farm, including your responsibilities for their food and housing.

Applies to England


Code of recommendations for the welfare of livestock: cattle

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The legislation covering on-farm welfare for cattle is:

The code of practice for the welfare of cattle provides guidance on how to comply with this legislation. It’s intended to help all those who care for cattle to practise good standards of stockmanship to safeguard cattle welfare.

You and any staff working with cattle must read, understand and have access to this code. Welfare codes are not law, but if you do not follow them they can be used as evidence in court to show breaches of legislation.

Some of the references to legislation in the codes are out of date. You should refer to the animal welfare legislation listed above and relevant wider legislation as needed.

For more information on legislation and codes of practice for other species, see farm animals: looking after their welfare.

Updates to this page

Published 1 March 2003
Last updated 25 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Created new HTML version of the code of recommendations for cattle to match the PDF version laid in parliament.

  2. First published.

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