Cow in house

Advice and guidance on protecting animal welfare on farms, in transport, at markets and at slaughter.

Link to full guidance


Follow this advice and guidance to protect animal welfare on your farm, at markets, slaughter and in transport.

You’re responsible for the welfare of any animals that you own or keep.

All farm animals are protected by animal welfare legislation.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the principal law relating to animal welfare, protecting all vertebrate animals.

Under the Act, owners and keepers have a duty of care to their animals and must make sure they meet their needs:

  • for a suitable environment and place to live
  • for a suitable diet
  • to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
  • to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

The Act prohibits animal cruelty which includes:

  • causing unnecessary suffering to an animal
  • mutilation
  • poisoning an animal

Anyone who does not comply with the Act may:

  • be banned from owning animals
  • face an unlimited fine
  • be sent to prison for up to 5 years

Related Organisations

Connected Content

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.

Animal health is integral to the sustainability, profitability, and ethical considerations of livestock farming. It involves a combination of preventative measures, good management practices, and veterinary care to ensure that animals are raised in a manner that is both economically viable and environmentally responsible while prioritizing their well-being and public health.

If you’re responsible for a farm animal you must make sure that you care for it properly. (DEFRA)