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Our environmental health team is responsible for enforcing the wide range of legislation in the UK designed to protect the health and welfare of both domesticated and wild animals.

Animal health and welfare legislation is enforced jointly by local authorities and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in association with other government bodies and independent organisations, like the RSPCA.

The environmental health business support team licenses and inspects:

  • Horse riding establishments
  • Dog breeding establishments
  • Animal boarding establishments
  • Exotic, dangerous or wild animals
  • Pet shops
  • Zoos

We also investigate:

Avian influenza (bird flu)

*Update 31 October*

Mandatory housing measures for all poultry and captive birds are to be introduced to all areas of England from 00:01 on Monday 7 November, following a decision by the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer. The housing measures legally require all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow stringent biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the disease, regardless of type or size.

For the latest information please visit the governments website.

*Update 17 October 2022*

Following a change in the risk levels and an increase in the number of detections of avian influenza (bird flu) in kept and wild birds, the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds.

This means that from midday on Monday 17 October, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Great Britain to follow strict biosecurity measures to help protect their flocks from the threat of avian flu. For further information please visit Avian influenza.gov

Advice on wild birds

The following should be reported to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77
• one or more dead bird of prey or owl
• 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
• 5 or more dead birds of any species

The UK Health Security Agency has said that the risk to the public is very low. However, people are advised not touch or pick up any of these groups of dead or visibly sick birds that they find.

You can find further public health advice on the governments website.

Advice on kept and domestic birds

If you keep poultry, even as pets in your garden, you should keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and make sure you have good biosecurity measure in place to prevent contact with wild birds.

Speak to your vet if you have any concerns about the health of your birds. It’s a good idea to register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so DEFRA can contact you during an outbreak and keep you updated with the latest advice.

More information and advice is available on the government website.

New Horse Microchipping Legislation

A new law requiring horse owners to microchip their animals has been introduced to prevent abuse and improve welfare.

From 1 October 2020, The Equine Identification (England) Regulations 2018 make it mandatory for all owners to microchip their horses, ponies and donkeys. If you own horses, you must now ensure that your animals are microchipped.

The legislation allows local authorities and police to track down the owners of dumped horses, and for the animals to be cared for. It will also mean that lost or stolen horses will be reunited with their owners more easily.

For more information contact us or the Word Horse Welfare Organisation.

The Legislation can be found on the gov.uk legislation page.

Further information