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Animals & Government Regulations

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Animals Animal Environment Wildlife

Regulations are put in place to govern procedures and standards. Their aim is to ensurethat the correct application is adhered to in appropriate conditions.

Why Do Animals Need Regulating?

Intensive farming methods, dangerous dogs, outbreaks of epidemics, animal cruelty; just to name a few reasons. Wildlife and conservation are important issues addressed by government agencies too. Titles of regulations under the Animal Welfare Act alone include many different aspects of the do’s and don’ts of keeping animals, from hens to horses and from breeding to pet travel, plus just about every stage in between.

Government has a duty of care to livestock, as do farmers and transporters, which is why strict rules are in force for the welfare of all animals. There is also a duty to the general public.

Foot and mouth, bluetongue disease and bird flu are among the ‘animal diseases’ that most people have heard of. When a suspected outbreak of any contagious disease occurs, one of the first actions is to seal off the area and limit the movement of herds or flocks while government agencies set up their on-site investigations. On confirmation of an outbreak, movement licenses and guidance are set in place while everything is done to contain the disease, including quarantine where applicable.

Farm animals have pedigrees, numbers and official paperwork to identify them for good reason; if an outbreak occurs, the precise location of all livestock is available. This can swiftly determine which animals are at risk of developing symptoms and indicate the source or sources of infection. Regulations are in place to minimise suffering and improve lives (Animal Welfare Act).

Animal Husbandry

From pet mice to prize bulls, there are regulations in place to ensure responsible owners and handlers provide the necessary shelter, housing, diet and care for animals,whether they are kept as pets or bred for export. Valid licences must be held in order to keep some animals and to carry out certain jobs pertaining to breeding, transporting and slaughter.

The department for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) governs the policies introduced by government. This government department regulates licences, certification and registration as well as inspections, investigations and where necessary, enforcements.

Species specific regulations apply to ensure the welfare of farmed animals. Other species include:

  • Horses
  • Ducks and Geese
  • Goats
  • Deer
  • Turkeys
  • Rabbits
  • Ratites (Emu, Ostrich, Rhea)
  • Fish
General codes of recommendations for the welfare of livestock apply along with the Act andthe Welfare of Farmed Animals.

Welfare Checks

Spot checks can be made on establishments that are licensed to breed animals, keep herds and/or flocks, supply milk and so on. Regular checks and health care plans are in place, such as vaccination programmes, but if there is cause for concern in any way, about the welfare ofanimals, people responsible for them can be called upon by animal health officers.

These checks are sometimes instigated by a member of the public or RSPCA officers. Depending on the findings, warnings can be issued, animals can be removed. In serious breaches of animal welfare people can be stopped from keeping animals. These instances are rare.

Summary

Working for governmental agencies can provide a secure and interesting career. There are numerous speciality departments within the individual agencies, including conservation and veterinary. Much of the work is routine but there are opportunities to make a difference to the well being of several different species, at the same time as helping people involved in their welfare.

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