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Worried about the welfare of a farm animal in the UK?


There are a number of different places you can report farm animal welfare concerns, depending on the situation and location. These include your local authority, the police and different animal welfare charities. It’s crucial to report the issue straight away and to the right people so any animals that are in danger, are sick or suffering can be helped quickly. That’s why we’ve put together this list of who to contact, and how.

It’s very important to report the issue straight away so any animals that are in danger, are sick or suffering can be helped quickly. That’s why we’ve put together this list of who to contact, and how.

Sick and injured animals on farms

If you see an animal on a farm that you think is ill or injured that isn't receiving the proper medical care, or you believe they are in danger or distress then please contact the RSPCA urgently by calling 0300 1234 999, or your local equivalent (SSPCA on 03000 999 999 or USPCA on 0300 200 7840).

Alternatively, if it is a farm animal you can report this to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA):

If you think a crime has taken place, you should report it to the police or by calling 101 if it is a non-emergency.

And if the farm is a member of the RSPCA Assured certification scheme, you can call us on 01403 286 170. Please do so as quickly as possible so we can promptly investigate.

Remember, time is of the essence so be sure to gather as much information as you can before making your report:

  • Where: the name of the farm if you know it and ideally the precise location (you can use the app what3words to get this)
  • When: the date and time of the incident
  • What: details of the incident, the species involved, number of animals and photos or video if possible
  • Who: names of individuals involved if known.

Animals exposed to extreme weather conditions

Some farm animals such as native sheep and cattle breeds are able to cope with cold or wet conditions and don't need assistance in winter weather.

However, you should contact the RSPCA or your local equivalent about:

  • farm animals with no access to a well-drained lying area
  • farm animals with no access to any form of shelter, such as a natural hedge
  • sheep that have just been shorn being kept outside during winter weather.

Please also call the RSPCA, SSPCA or USPCA if you see farm animals in hot weather which:

  • do not have access to clean water
  • do not have access to shade
  • appear to be suffering from heat stress, including sheep that have not been shorn in hot weather.

Again, if you believe a crime is being committed, you should report this to the police. You can also contact APHA.

Farm animals being used as entertainment

You should contact The RSPCA / SSPCA/ USPCA about farm animals being used for entertainment in a way that may compromise their welfare. For example, cow-tipping, or the racing or riding of farm animals, such as pigs and sheep.

Transport and slaughter

If you're concerned about the way in which farm animals are being transported, or treated at a livestock market, then please contact your Local Authority or Trading Standards.

If the concern is about farm animals at an abattoir or the illegal killing/ slaughter of farm animals outside of an official slaughter plant, then please contact the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Again, you can also contact the police or Local Authorities about this.

Sheep worrying, livestock theft, fox hunting

If you see a dog off the lead worrying livestock on farmland, be aware that this is a crime and you should report it to the police. Other crimes such as livestock theft, hare coursing or fox hunting should also be reported.

Non-welfare issues

If you have concerns about the outbreak of a suspected notifiable disease (such as Avian Flu or Bovine Tuberculosis), then please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or call them on 03000 200 301.

When animals die on farms, the farmers are responsible for arranging the prompt, safe and legal collection and disposal of the carcasses. If you are concerned about dead livestock or carcass disposal, please contact your Local Trading Standards Office.

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