Farming Standards Advice - Guidance Leaflets

Animal gatherings

Good standards of biosecurity on farms, at animal gatherings (which includes collection centres and livestock shows), and on livestock vehicles must be maintained to reduce the risk of spread of disease.

Livestock markets, shows, and collection centres are now known collectively as 'animal gatherings'. Such events must be licensed by the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

In the guide
Points to note

The current biosecurity strategy came into force in March 2010. Whilst the risks from diseases such as foot-and-mouth remain the same, the methods of mitigating and dealing with those risks have been subject to a comprehensive and industry-led review. The current regime still mitigates those risks to the same extent as previous strategies, but responsibility for some biosecurity measures has now been handed over to the industry to oversee and control. However, enforcement authorities can still take action if there is a biosecurity risk at an animal gathering.

Points to note
Please note the following, which will affect you when delivering/sending livestock to an animal gathering:

  • all livestock must be fit for the intended journeys both into and from the gathering. An animal will be considered unfit if it is:
    - lame (non-weight bearing on any foot)
    - injured
    - ill, infirm or fatigued
    - diseased
  • you must arrive at the time you are allocated, if applicable, to prevent any unnecessary waiting or congregating of vehicles
  • all cattle, sheep, goats and pigs must be identified in accordance with the relevant legislation
  • leave 'disease' where it is by following good biosecurity measures every time you leave a premises with livestock
  • you should ensure that you know the signs of notifiable diseases in animals and, if in doubt, seek veterinary advice as soon as possible
  • do not come onto the premises with clothes or a livestock vehicle (including a vehicle used to pull a trailer) contaminated with mud or other farm contamination
  • facilities are provided for you to cleanse and disinfect your boots and scrub your hands. If you need to, use them
  • handling animals can spread disease. You should wash your hands and clothing/footwear before you leave the premises
  • you should cleanse and disinfect your livestock vehicle on site before leaving if at all possible
  • be alert for any signs of disease in animals. If there is a suspect case of disease while you are on the premises, be prepared to cooperate with the authorities in implementing the disease control contingency plan
  • vehicles/trailers used to transport livestock into the gathering must either be cleansed and disinfected or an 'undertaking to cleanse and disinfect' completed before leaving the gathering
  • destination addresses on the ARAMS-1 (sheep and goats) or eAML2 haulier summary sheet (pigs) must always be that of the gathering being moved to and not the final/end destination

Defra biosecurity guidance gives essential advice to supplement the legal obligations of those people running and also those attending a market in whatever capacity.

For further information on the day of a gathering, please speak to the animal health inspector on duty.

Please note
This leaflet is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. Any legislation referred to, while still current, may have been amended from the form in which it was originally enacted. Please contact us for further information.

Relevant legislation
Animal Health Act 1981
Disease Control (England) Order 2003
Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006
Cattle Identification Regulations 2007
Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009
Animal Gatherings Order 2010
Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2011

Last reviewed/updated: May 2014

© 2014 itsa Ltd on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute.