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Our Regulatory Services 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:

  • Animal boarding establishments – home and commercial
  • Animal exhibits/performances
  • Dog breeding establishments
  • Exotic, dangerous or wild animals
  • Horse riding establishments
  • Pet shops
  • Zoos

We also investigate:

Avian influenza (bird flu)

*Update 18 April 2023*

Mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds, which were introduced across England and Wales to help stop the spread of bird flu, will be lifted from 00:01 on Tuesday 18 April 2023.

The avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) with mandatory biosecurity requirements remains in force. Scrupulous biosecurity remains the most effective method of disease control available, and all bird keepers must continue to meet the enhanced biosecurity
measures set out in the declaration.

This means that from 18 April 2023, eggs laid by birds with access to outside range areas can return to being marketed as ‘free range’ eggs.

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.

Horse Microchipping Legislation

A 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 legislation page.

Further information