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

Whether you are a pig farmer or just keep one micropig as a pet, you’re classified by law as a pig keeper and the regulations that apply are the same.

Which regulations apply?

The movement of pigs in England is covered by the Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007 (the Order). The Order is made under the Animal Health Act 1981 (AHA 1981). Failure to comply with the Order is an offence under AHA 1981 punishable with up to six months in prison and/ or a fine.

Registering as a pig keeper

You’re not allowed to keep a pig as a pet unless you have obtained a county parish holding (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

You must also inform the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) that you plan to keep pigs within 30 days of your first pet pig arriving on your land. You will be allotted a herd mark by the APHA which, apart from when you take your pig for a walk, you’ll need to identify your pig or micropig if you move it from your land.

If you keep a pig at home, you also have a duty to provide certain information to the local Divisional Veterinary Officer within a month of getting your pig and notify them of any changes in that information. This includes:

  • your name and address;
  • the identification number your holding (if known); and
  • the species of any livestock kept on the holding.

Licences

Before you’re allowed to take your pig for a walk outside your home or land, you need to get a licence from the APHA. Your walking route may not be approved by the APHA if it might pose a health risk (eg, if your walk takes you near a livestock market, pig farm or restaurant). The licence needs to be renewed every year and you must have your licence with you whenever walk your pig.

Under s8 of the Order, once your new pig arrives at your holding, you’re not allowed to move it from the premises for 20 days.

Pig identification

Your pig must be tagged, tattooed or marked with its identification details if you want to take it for a walk under the terms of the licence or if you want to move it to a market, pig farm or abattoir. You don’t need to report and record the movement of your pig if you’re just taking it for a walk under the terms of your licence, but you do need to do so if you’re moving it from your premises for any other reason.

Transporting pigs

If you want to transport your pig elsewhere you must carry a document, signed by you, or give this signed document to whoever is transporting the pig. The document must state the address, including postcode and CPH number of the holdings from and to the pig is being moved; the date of the movement; the number of pigs the document covers; and the identification mark of each pig moved.

Where a pig is moved from a market, the document must also state the lot number of the pig 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 must 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 six months. The keeper at the holding of destination must then send a copy of the document to the local authority within three days of the arrival of the pigs.

Where pigs are moved outside of England, the keeper must send a copy of the document to the local authority for the consigning holding.