You’ve got the land and now want some animals – Who do I need to contact? What are the rules? Where do I get the paperwork? What if something goes wrong?
If you are not interested in keeping animals on your land or smallholding then you probably won’t want to go any further than registering (if at all) your smallholding.
If you are planning to keep animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, hens, and cattle then read on. Different rules apply to different animals. It is complicated – but not insurmountable!
Is there a difference between a pet animal and livestock?
Do not assume that because your animal (e.g. sheep, micro-pig, goat, alpaca) is to be kept as a pet that these rules do not necessarily apply to you. Ignorance is not a defence – if in doubt ask your local authority animal welfare officer.
Bureaucracy surrounding the smallholding
The bureaucracy surrounding agriculture and smallholding is a challenge, don’t let it get on top of you, but don’t ignore it either. You are treated by the authorities just the same as the big guys, and will therefore have to comply with all the regulations. It’s not what you came into smallholding for I know, but the good thing is that you are not alone! Local smallholder associations are there to provide support and advice.
Things to do before you buy animals for your smallholding
‘Any person who keeps animals, or who causes or knowingly permits animals to be kept, must not attend to them unless he has access to all relevant statutory welfare codes relating to the animals while he is attending to, and is acquainted with the provisions of those codes.’
- It is important that you read and understand the welfare guides/codes of recommendation relating to the animals you intend to keep. Read more here.
- You must register your land or ‘holding’ and get a CPH number (a unique code allocated to the land where animals are kept). You need this number before you purchase/acquire/move any animal onto your smallholding.
- You must get a flock or herdmark number for your livestock (e.g. sheep and pigs)
- Get the relevant movement documentation for your animal (from the previous owner) and be aware of the regulations around transporting animals. You may need a licence for moving certain agricultural animals (e.g. pigs see below).
Once you have your animals – other things you need to do
- Your animals must be properly identifiable, with the correct flock or herdmark numbers. Different animals have different tagging rules and some even require electronic identification (e.g. sheep).
- Poultry and other fowl may require to be registered (see below).
- You need to keep a register and medications book. Return an annual inventory where requested, and notify a range of agencies depending on the animal and it’s movements (more details below).
Feeding your animals/livestock
Animal feed plays an important part in the food chain and there are rules governing this area. Most smallholders buy bags of animal feed direct from an agricultural supplier which is pre-mixed, however rules do apply about how that feed is stored (and your premises may be inspected to make sure you comply), as well as what different animals can be fed (e.g. pigs cannot be fed anything that has had contact with your kitchen).
You must be registered with your local authority if you;
- manufacture animal feed,
- market animal feed,
- import animal feed,
- store animal feed,
- transport animal feed,
- sell co-products of food industry as animal feed,
- carry out on-farm mixing,
- feed food producing animals,
- grow crops to be used as animal feed.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for drawing up the rules on the composition and marketing of animal feed as well as improving food safety throughout the food chain. This includes improving hygiene on farms and making sure that public health is not put at risk through what is fed to animals. Food hygiene legislation applies to farmers, growers and other producers, in many cases for the first time as part of the ‘farm to fork’ approach to food safety. There is a question and answer section available on the Food Standards Agency FSA website.
If you are the owner or occupier of a smallholding, you also need to keep records of animal stock on your premises. This is called a register of the animals on your holding; you should keep a separate register for each holding you use. This register will hold information about your animals, the holding and any movements of animals on or off your holding. You can keep your own records, in any format you wish however, it must contain all the necessary information as set out in the Scottish Government website you can download one from here .
Registering your smallholding
You must register your holding within 30 days from the date you first keep animals. If you are a new sheep/goat/pig/cattle keeper you must register your holding with your local Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (RPID) Office. They will give you a CPH number which is a unique code allocated to the land where animals are kept. The CPH code is used when reporting and recording animal movements.
Where do I get a Flock/herdmark number from?
They will give you a flockmark (sheep) or herdmark (goats/pigs) for your holding. The flockmark or herdmark is allocated to the holding and must be used to identify all animals born on the holding. Keepers who use the same holding must use the same flockmark or herdmark. You require the flockmark or herdmark to buy identification tags and electronic identifiers (from agricultural shops/suppliers). You must also inform your local AHDO within 30 days of ceasing to keep animals on a holding.
Movement of animals
What is samu?
You must notify movements of animals on to your holding to the Scottish Animal Movement Unit (SAMU).
SAMU, Government Buildings, 161 Brooms Road, Dumfries, DG1 3ES
Phone: 0845 601 7597, Fax: 01387 274 457
When an animal moves, its movement must be recorded in the triplicate movement document (sheep and goats – different rules apply for pigs) and then reported to the Scottish Animal Movement Unit (SAMU) within 3 days of arrival at the holding by the receiving keeper; moves that take place via a Market in Scotland will be notified to SAMU by the Market. The movement document forms the basis of the notification to SAMU. The white copy of the triplicate movement document can be either posted or faxed to SAMU. You can also complete electronic notification of the movement details.
You get your triplicate movement document (sheep and goats) from the RPID office. All movements from a holding in Scotland (except those for emergency veterinary treatment) must be accompanied by a movement document and sent to SAMU .
Annual inventory of sheep and goats
You must return the annual inventory of sheep and goats sent to you directly by the Scottish Government. They will only know to do this if you have registered your smallholding.
REGISTRATION OF PIG HOLDINGS
Keepers of pigs are required to register holdings where pigs are kept and must maintain records of all pig movements. Any owner or person in charge of pigs is required to notify the Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM) at local AHDO office giving details of :
i. name and address of the owner or occupier of the holding
ii. identification number (CPH) of the holding
iii. species of livestock kept, and
iv. to notify the DVM within one month, of any changes to these details
When pigs are moved a self declaration movement document or a licence issued by the local authority or Divisional Veterinary Manager must accompany the animals on their journey. Where a self declaration movement document is used a copy must be forwarded to the local authority within 3 days. The local authority will in turn notify the Scottish Animal Movement Unit (SAMU) of the details of the movement.
In the event of disease outbreak, the precise location of all livestock is essential for effective measure to control and eradicate highly contagious diseases.
Self declaration movement documents are therefore used to record the details of a movement in instances where keepers move pigs from a farm. The type of declaration to be used (Schedule 2, Schedule 3, or Schedule 4) will depend on the purposes for which the pigs are being moved and the destination to which the pigs are being moved to.
- Schedule 2: Movement of pigs from a farm form of declaration
- Schedule 3: Movement of pigs from a farm for breeding, exhibition, artificial insemination, or veterinary treatment form of declaration
- Schedule 4: Movement of pigs on return to farm after movement from farm for breeding purposes form of declaration
Keepers need to be aware of the requirements being placed upon them when using self declaration movement documents. No fees are payable. This is simply a notification process with the requirement being to forward a copy of the relevant self declaration to the local authority within 3 days. Tacit consent applies. This is only a notification process so this means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.
Examples of forms can be downloaded from websites below:
Downlodad animal transportation advice and get info on pig movement licences etc from this web page
Do I need to register my chicken?
If you own or keep 50 or more poultry birds then you must register with DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). This is due to the avian influenza (preventative measures) (Scotland) Regulations 2005. The poultry register remains open to allow for the continual voluntary registration of premises with less than 50 poultry. Bird species that must registered:
- Guinea fowl
You can register with DEFRA by calling free on 0800 634 1112.
Disease in your livestock
Reporting Notifiable Diseases
Many animal diseases are highly contagious and must be reported as soon as an outbreak is suspected. Such notifiable disease include:
- Foot and Mouth Disease
- Swine Fever
If you suspect signs of notifiable disease, or have a case confirmed, you must report it immediately to: DEFRA Divisional Veterinary Manager, Local Authority Animal Health Officer and Police. A comprehensive list of notifiable disease can be obtained from the DEFRA website.
LOCAL AUTHORITY CONTACT DETAILS
You can find out your local authority animal health officer here.
Animals going to slaughter
Animals going to slaughter require a range of documentation
- transfer of ownership through your triplicate book (see above)
- movement licence for pigs (see above)
- food chain document (see below)
- you must also abide by the correct transport regulations and use a method of transport that is acceptable (e.g. you may find that an abbattoir might refuse to accept the delivery of sheep or pigs on a horse trailer because there is insufficient side gates which increases the risk of escape).
Food chain information
From 1 January 2010 EU food hygiene legislation required slaughterhouse operators to ‘request, receive, check and act upon’ food chain information (FCI) for all cattle, sheep and goats sent for slaughter for human consumption.
The ‘five freedoms’.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst. By access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vision.
- Freedom from discomfort. By provision of an appropriate environment including shelter and rest area.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease. By preventing or rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment including humane slaughter.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour. By providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company.
- Freedom from fear and distress. By ensuring that conditions and treatment avoid mental suffering