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Animal health and welfare

Animal Welfare officers are responsible for ensuring a high level of welfare for livestock and other domestic animals

They are also responsible for the licensing of various animal activities and performing checks on these premises.

Information about animal licensing can be found in the links below:

The role of Animal Welfare Officers

Animal welfare officers' duties include ensuring livestock is correctly identified and moved with the required movement documents and passports. Officers carry out checks of records at farms, markets, slaughterhouses and during transportation to ensure that there is full traceability of livestock movements. They carry out visits to animal and livestock establishments to ensure the welfare of animals. To reduce the risk of disease outbreak the officers also ensure that carcases are disposed of by the correct methods.

With the support of Police Scotland, officers will:

  • Stop and inspect livestock vehicles to ensure that welfare standards are maintained for the livestock during their transportation
  • Ensure that the vehicles are constructed and used correctly for the transportation of livestock
  • Ensure that the livestock are correctly identified and are moved with the correct paperwork

The animal welfare officers also provide advice and assistance to farmers and traders on animal health and welfare legislation.

Farm livestock records and livestock identification

If you intend to keep livestock animals there are a number of steps that must be done before you can do so.

In practical terms the following are key legal requirements. You must:

  • Register as a keeper on every holding that you use
  • Identify each of your animals
  • Notify all movements of animals on and off your holding
  • Keep your records up to date

View the livestock identification and traceability guidance.

Animal movement licences and passports

In order to move cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminating animals and swine within Scotland certain conditions must be met.

View the animal health: movement restrictions guidance.

The Equine Animal (Identification)(Scotland) Regulations 2019 requires all equines, regardless of age or status, to be accompanied by an identification document (passport/ScotEquine card) and implanted with a microchip.  View the horse passports: guidance for owners, keepers, veterinarians and local authorities

Livestock vehicles - construction and cleanliness

All transporters and attendants using road vehicles for transporting farm animals, including poultry and horses, must have received appropriate training and must hold a certificate of competence issued by an independent body. There are rules around the construction and cleanliness of the vehicles.

View the livestock transport guidance.

Last modified on 07 March 2022

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