Keeping farmed animals – guidance

Culling during a disease outbreak: animals that may be spared

Find out which birds and animals may be spared from culling during an outbreak of an exotic animal disease.

During an outbreak of an exotic notifiable animal disease government may need to cull (kill) animals to control disease spread. Certain categories of animal and bird may be spared from culling if this doesn’t interfere with efforts to control the disease.

Decisions to spare are made on a case by case basis. A vet will carry out a risk assessment of the premises where the animal is kept. Other factors, including the potential implications of failing to cull, will also be considered. There are no guarantees an animal or bird will be spared.

Animals that may be spared

Government will consider sparing animals kept:

  • in a zoo or a wildlife park
  • for scientific research or breeding for such research
  • in a premises approved for trade in semen, ova or embryos within the EU
  • for display or educational purposes
  • for purposes related to conservation of a species or genetic resource (see breeds at risk section of this guide)

Poultry (kept birds) and other birds that may be spared

Government will consider sparing poultry and other birds that are kept:

  • in a non-commercial holding
  • in a circus
  • in a pet shop
  • in a zoo or a wildlife park
  • for scientific research or breeding for such research
  • for purposes related to conservation of a species or genetic resource (see breeds at risk section of this guide)

Breeds at risk that may be spared

The Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee (FAnGR) publishes the UK breeds at risk list (PDF, 82KB, 6 pages) . Breeds on this list are rare in the UK and government will consider sparing them during a cull to preserve their genetic resource.

You should not confuse the UK breeds at risk list with the separate Native Breeds at Risk list of animals eligible for grants for grazing under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

Registering UK breeds at risk

If you own animals from the UK breeds at risk list and want government to consider sparing them, it is up to you to alert government.

You can tell APHA officials about any at risk breeds when they visit your farm or premises during a disease outbreak.

But ideally you should send a completed animal breeds at risk registration form to APHA. This information may help APHA respond to disease outbreaks.

Proposing new UK breeds at risk

The breeds at risk list is not closed.

If you think there is a breed that should be added to the list, you can tell FAnGR, which is responsible for the list.

You will need to explain how the breed meets the criteria for inclusion on the breeds at risk list (PDF, 76KB, 2 pages) . This guide on evidence to support inclusion on the breeds at risk list (PDF, 131KB, 2 pages) may help you to make a case for your breed.