The Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 gives protection to all animals, including farm animals. Farm animals are, however, given further protection by the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

To which animals do the Regulations apply?

The Regulations apply to all animals which are bred or kept for the production of food, wool or skin or for other farming purposes. The Regulations do not, however, apply to:

  • fish, reptiles or amphibians;
  • animals while at, or solely kept or bred for, competitions, shows, cultural or sporting events or activities;
  • laboratory and experimental animals;
  • animals living in the wild.

Duties on persons responsible for farmed animals

The Regulations impose certain general duties on persons who are responsible for farmed animals. The extent of each duty will depend upon the needs of the type of animal in question.

In addition to the general duties there are certain additional duties on persons responsible for poultry, laying hens, calves, cattle, pigs and rabbits in certain circumstances.

The general duties are as follows:


There is a duty to ensure that there are a sufficient number of staff to care for the animals and to ensure that such staff are suitably qualified to look after the animals.


There are duties to ensure that appropriate and regular inspections are carried out to check the well-being of animals and to avoid any suffering. There are also duties to provide suitable accommodation and relating to sick and injured animals.

Record keeping

There is a duty to keep records recording any medical treatments given to the animals and the number of mortalities found on each inspection. Such records must be kept for at least 3 years.

Freedom of movement

There is a duty to ensure that the movement of animals is not restricted in such a way as to cause unnecessary suffering or injury and in the case of tethered animals, to ensure that they are given an appropriate amount of space.

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For more information on:

  • Buildings and accommodation
  • Animals not kept in buildings
  • Automatic or mechanical equipment
  • Feed, water and other substances
  • Breeding procedures
  • Electrical immobilisation
  • Codes of Practice
  • Failure to comply with the Regulations