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By Katie Thear
Please note that the following information is merely a precis, correct at time of writing in 2005 and full & current details must be obtained from the appropriate authority.
The regulations that are in force in relation to livestock are essentially to do with registration and identification, health, transport, movement and records, as well as slaughtering and selling. In Britain the local Animal Health Office (AHO) and local branch of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are the relevant organisations to contact.
Anyone with livestock such as pigs, sheep, cattle and goats must register with the AHO of the local Trading standards office and obtain advisory information at the local DEFRA office. (See local telephone directory).
Livestock must be identified with a tattoo or ear tag and appropriate records need to be kept of each animal. For cattle there is also an additional Passport that accompanies each animal.
There are Codes of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock for each type of animal. They are available from DEFRA or AHO offices.
Movement of livestock: Livestock moved from one site to another must have a Movement Licence. This is called the Schedule 1 Holding Movement Record and includes the name and address of the person keeping the record, the number and identification marks of the animals, the date of movement and the premises moved from and moved to. It is possible to issue your own licences. Blank copies are available either from the AHO or by getting a book of tear-out licences from the local NFU office. A blank copy can be photocopied for producing your own.
The Animal Health Act and the Welfare of Animals During Transport specify the welfare conditions and requirements for transporting, loading and unloading animals. Trailers must be suitable for the number and type of livestock and provide safe, non-slip access. The trailers must be cleaned and disinfected after use.
Casualty animals that have to be killed on the farm must be killed humanely and quickly by an experienced person. The vet or AHO will provide advice and help. On-site poultry slaughtering and dressing are allowed for a relatively small number of birds where for example, Christmas birds are being sold at the farmgate. The Environmental Health department of the local authority will provide details of the requirements.
It is necessary to have a Schedule 2 Veterinary Medicine Administration Record. This is a record of veterinary products administered to all farm livestock. Furthermore, records must be made within 72 hours of the administration of a medicinal product to an animal. A veterinary product is a product that has been licensed for veterinary use and has a product license number. There are two categories - POM, available on prescription only from a vet, and PML that can be bought from a vendor who is licensed to sell it. It is illegal for anyone who is unregistered to sell veterinary products.
Specified withdrawal periods are laid down between the end of treatment and the slaughter of animals or the taking of eggs or milk for human consumption. If animals are sold before the end of the withdrawal period, the purchaser or auctioneer must be informed. In commercial enterprises, records should be kept for a minimum of two years after treatment. The details to be recorded are as follows: date purchased, name, quantity and supplier of medicine; identity and number of animals treated; amount given; date treatment finished and date when withdrawal period ended; name of person administering the medicine. The records can be inspected by DEFRA officers.
Some diseases, if suspected, must be notified to DEFRA. A full list is available from the Animal Health Division (A), Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7NF.
Some diseases can be transmitted from livestock to humans. They are listed in a Health and Safety publication entitled The Occupational Zoonoses. This is available from DEFRA.
In order to keep ostriches, emus and wild boar it is necessary to have a permit from the AHO and to display a warning notice to the public if they have access to the site.
Meat that has been prepared according to the Fresh Meat Hygiene and Inspection Regulations can be bagged and returned to the owner for use or sale. To sell the meat, the producer must be registered with the local Environmental Health Department who will need to inspect the premises to ascertain that Food Safety Act requirements are being met, as well as the labelling and description requirements of the Trades Description Act.
Where eggs are being sold, there is no need to register as long as they are sold un-graded to callers, friends and neighbours. If they are to be graded and packed, according to the recognised sizes the premises must be registered and inspected by the Regional Egg Marketing Inspector who will provide the necessary information. These details are also on the DEFRA website
Where cow’s milk is sold it is necessary to purchase a ‘milk quota’ and be a registered producer. Details are available from DEFRA. The sale of milk and dairy products are covered by the Milk and Dairy Regulations, the Food Safety Act, Weights and Measures and Trades Description regulations. The premises must be registered with the Environmental Health Department who will inspect the milking, dairying and packaging areas. Milk hygiene, testing and treatment procedures must be complied with, as well other legislation covering, packaging, labelling and descriptions.
Further information is available from DEFRA and the local Environmental Health Office.
Copyright © Katie Thear 2005