ARCHIVE: Farmed animal welfare: Markets
- Protection from Injury and Suffering
- Penning, Caging, Feeding and Watering
- Young Animals
- The 1998 Strategy for the Protection of Animal Welfare at Livestock Markets
- Monitoring Compliance and Improving Performance
Livestock markets are seen as a shop window of the livestock industry.
Our objective is a high standard of welfare and for the humane treatment of animals passing through markets.
- well-maintained equipment and facilities, designed with the welfare of animals in mind, and
- sympathetic handling by properly trained and competent personnel.
There have been statutory controls governing the welfare of animals in markets since the 1960's. Legislation is supported by codes of practice, and the 1998 strategy for the protection of animals at markets. Further information is given on this page.
The current legislation was made in 1990 and was considered by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) as part of its review of the welfare of animals at markets, including livestock markets and horse and pony sales. FAWC published their review (the welfare of farmed animals at gatherings) in June 2005.
If you have any reason for concern about the treatment of an animal at a market please bring it without delay to the attention of:
- the market welfare officer, or
- the Local Authority inspector or
- the Animal Health representative or Official Veterinarian.
- The Welfare of Animals at Markets Order 1990 ("WAMO")
- The Welfare of Animals at Markets (Amendment) Order 1993
- The Welfare of Horses at Markets (and Other Places of Sale) Order 1990 ("WHAMOPSO")
The aim of this legislation is to ensure a high standard of welfare for all animals passing through markets.
These rules apply from the moment animals are unloaded at arrival, through to their care as they depart. A summary of the main provisions is given below.
The markets legislation makes it an offence to
- permit an unfit animal to be exposed for sale
- be party to injury or unnecessary suffering to an animal, including the exposure to adverse weather conditions
- mishandle animals at market, prohibiting lifting, dragging or inappropriate tying of an animal.
- use excessive force to control an animal; the use of sticks, whips, crops and goads are also restricted.
The market operator must ensure that:
- animals are kept in pens, cages or hutches suitable for the size and species
- there is appropriate feeding, watering and bedding arrangements, as well as lighting and ventilation
- there is suitable accommodation for the treatment of unfit animals
There are special provisions for the protection of young animals:
- calves under seven days old or with unhealed navels must not be brought for sale
- individual calves must not be repeatedly exposed for sale
- foals must be brought for sale at the foot of their dam, and while at the market a foal must not be separated from its mother.
Local authorities have primary responsibility for enforcing welfare legislation at markets. Animal Health also has a major role to play in helping to ensure that high standards are consistently achieved. Animal Health maintains a presence at markets to monitor compliance.
To improve welfare standards at markets, in 1998 the Government launched the Strategy for the Protection of Animal Welfare at Livestock Markets.
The Strategy was developed in close consultation with a range of interested bodies, to obtain a widely accepted and comprehensive method for maintaining high standards of animal welfare at markets.
The main aims of the Strategy were to:
- clarify the division of responsibilities in the market
- encourage market operators to appoint market welfare officers
- emphasise the value of the codes of practice
- provide action points for addressing the most pressing welfare issues
- promote good communication between all people with an interest in markets
- monitor welfare standards so that points of concern can be identified rapidly and dealt with appropriately
Out of the Strategy an Action Plan was developed under which Animal Health maintains a presence at markets to ensure animals are treated humanely. Many of the procedures set out in the Strategy have proved to be very successful and Animal Health continue to hold regular meetings with market operators to review the findings of their inspections and take action to correct any problems.
Some of the legislation that underpinned the Strategy at the time, specifically the welfare during transport rules, has since been revoked. This has been replaced by EU welfare during transport rules that are implemented in the UK by national legislation, namely the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and parallel legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Following on from the Strategy, Animal Health carries out market inspection assessments of each market operating. These visits assess the standards at markets, taking into account assessments made by Animal Health staff in their regular markets enforcement visits in the preceding period.
These visits help with consistent monitoring of welfare standards at markets across the country. Monitoring in this way will tell us whether certain problems are becoming less (or more) frequent and also alert us to any new problems. The cycle of continuous assessment is intended to encourage market operators continually to aim for the highest standards, with the opportunity for regular feedback and guidance. Problems identified are brought to the attention of the market operator and, as the responsible enforcement agency, the local authority.
- Animal health and welfare publications can be found in the publications pages of our website.
- Visit the Farm Animal Welfare section of the EU website.
- Further information on the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) can be found on the FAWC website.
- Further information on EU welfare during transport rules can be found on our website.
Page last modified:
9 January, 2012
Page published: 5 August, 2002