SMR 13: Animal welfare
You must protect the welfare of farmed animals by setting minimum standards for their care and husbandry. This SMR applies to any species kept for farming purposes.
What you must do
- You must make sure that your animals are looked after by enough staff with the right skills and knowledge.
- Your animals must be inspected thoroughly at least once a day if your husbandry system depends on frequent human attention and in other systems as often as necessary to avoid suffering.
- Ill or injured animals must be cared for immediately, and if they do not respond to this care then you must seek veterinary advice.
- Sick or injured animals must, where necessary be isolated in suitable accommodation with dry comfortable bedding.
You must make a record of:
- any medicinal treatment given to your animals. Keep these records for at least 3 years from the date of the treatment and make them available to any authorised person at inspection (or when otherwise asked for)
- the number of deaths found when the animals are inspected. Keep these records for at least 3 years from the date of the relevant inspection and make them available to any authorised person at inspection (or when otherwise asked for).
- Your animals must have enough space to avoid unnecessary stress, if they are continuously or regularly tethered or confined, and also allow them to show their normal behaviour in line with established experience and scientific knowledge.
- You must not restrict your animals’ freedom of movement if this causes them unnecessary suffering or injury.
- Materials for animals’ accommodation must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Accommodation must be built and maintained so that there are no sharp edges or protrusions which could injure your animals. You must not use materials and/or equipment for accommodation purposes that is harmful to your animals.
- Air circulation, dust levels, temperature, relative air humidity and gas concentrations must be kept within limits that will not harm your animals.
- Artificial lighting must be provided if there is not sufficient natural light in a building. You must not keep animals in permanent darkness or without an appropriate rest period from artificial lighting.
- You must check automated and/or mechanical equipment that is essential for the health and well-being of your animals at least once a day and put right any faults immediately (or take appropriate steps to protect the health and well-being of your animals until you can get the fault put right).
- You must provide an appropriate back-up to the main system if your animals’ health and well-being depends upon artificial ventilation, and have an alarm to warn you if the ventilation system fails. Inspect and test these at least once every 7 days.
Feed and water
- Your animals must be fed a wholesome diet which is fed to them in sufficient quantity to maintain them in good health, to satisfy their nutritional needs and to promote a positive state of well-being. You must make sure that they have access to feed at intervals appropriate to their needs (and, in any case, at least once a day), unless advised otherwise by a vet.
- You must not give your animals food or liquid in any way, or containing any substance, that could cause them unnecessary harm, or administer any substance to your animals which is harmful to their health or welfare.
- All animals must have access to a suitable water supply and enough fresh drinking water or other fluid each day.
- Any contamination of food and water and the harmful effects of competition between animals for food and water must be minimised through the design and location of feeding and watering equipment.
Mutilations and breeding procedures
You must not:
- carry out any mutilation or intervention on your animals, unless the action is classed as a ‘permitted procedure’ (many of these have conditions attached, including the need to be reasonably justified and be a measure of ‘last resort’)
- carry out breeding procedures (either natural or artificial) that cause, or are likely to cause, harm to your animals
- keep animals for farming purposes unless it can be reasonably expected that the normal breed characteristics (genetic and physical) mean that they can be kept without harm to their health and welfare.
Animals kept outdoors
- give animals not kept in buildings access to a well-drained lying area at all times
- protect them from the weather, predators and other risks to their health.
You should follow the rules in the relevant ‘Codes of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock’.
Animal and Plant Health Agency: 03000 200 301
Defra helpline: 0345 933 557
Rural Payments Agency: 03000 200 301