What is the law on taking a pet pig out for a walk?

A pet pig is, for almost all purposes, treated by the authorities no differently from any other farm animal. There are specific regulations dealing with the movement of pigs. These will apply even if a person only owns 1 pig or where a pig or pigs are kept as pets.

Which regulations apply to the movement of pigs and what do they say?

Which regulations apply?

  • At present the movement of pigs in England is covered by the Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007. The movement of pigs in Wales is covered by the Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Wales) Order 2008.
  • The rules relating to the movement of pigs change fairly regularly due to the outbreak of disease and, therefore, it is advisable to obtain up to date advice before moving a pig or pigs.

What do the regulations say?

  • The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007 and The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Wales) Order 2008 are drafted in almost identical terms.
  • Both Orders require any person transporting pigs to carry a document, signed by the keeper, if the keeper is different from the transporter. The document must state the address, including postcode and County Parish Holding number of the holdings from and to which the pig or pigs are being moved; the date of the movement; the number of pigs that the document covers; and the identification mark of each of the pigs moved.
  • A County Parish Holding number, commonly known as a CPH number is a holding number assigned by, the Secretary of State (or in the case of Wales, the Welsh Ministers), to the land upon which livestock are kept. A County Parish Holding number can be obtained from the Rural Payments Agency.
  • Where a pig or pigs are moved from a market, the document must also state the lot numbers of the pigs being moved. Where animals are exported or moved to a show or exhibition or for breeding purposes with the intention of returning the pig, the identification number for each individual pig must be recorded.
  • The transporter is required to give the document to the keeper at the holding of destination, if the keeper and transporter are separate people, and the document must be kept for at least 6 months.
  • The keeper at the holding of destination is then required to send a copy of the document to the local authority within 3 days of the arrival of the pigs.
  • Where pigs are moved from England to outside of England or from Wales to outside of Wales, the keeper is required to send a copy of the document to the local authority for the consigning holding.

That sounds a lot of work simply to take my pet pig for a walk. Is there any way I can get round this?

  • There is nothing in the Orders which would prevent a person from taking a pet pig for a walk on the land to which the County Parish Holding number relates. However, if the owner of a pet pig wishes to walk their pet pig further afar then the Orders make provision for this.
  • Under the Orders the Secretary of State (or in the case of Wales, the Welsh Ministers) has the power to grant a walking licence to the keeper of a pet pig allowing him to take the pig for a walk off the holding without complying with the rules set out above.
  • Applications for pet pig walking licences are in practice made to the local authority, who has the authority to grant a licence on the Secretary of State’s behalf.
  • Pet pig walking licences are granted at the discretion of the local authority and there is no automatic right to a licence. If a licence is not granted then compliance with the detailed rules set out above will be required if the owner of a pig wishes to take it for a walk off the holding.
  • Where a pig walking license is granted the person walking the pig is required to carry a copy of the licence throughout the walk.

The requirement to record the move on the Holding Register

The owner of a pig is required to keep a Holding Register upon which he is required to record certain things. One of the things which must be recorded on the Holding Register is details of all movements to and from the land upon which the pig is kept (i.e. the land to which the County Parish Holding number relates). The walk must, therefore, be recorded in the Holding Register and within 36 hours.