Farming Standards


As the fourth and eighth biggest counties in England, Devon & Somerset form part of one of the largest farming regions in the country, with tens of thousands of holdings, regular livestock markets held across the two counties each week, a number of slaughterhouses and important agricultural events held throughout the year.

As a result, advice, guidance and enforcement on Animal Health, Welfare and Disease Control legislation is a high priority for our Service. At the same time we ensure that animal feed and any food produced on farms meet both safety and hygiene controls.

Our aim is to protect the health and welfare of livestock in Devon & Somerset, including farm animals being transported or exposed for sale at a market.

We actively investigate any serious breach of legislation and deal with many complaints and referrals each year, taking enforcement action against offenders (including prosecution in serious cases) if necessary. We work in close co-operation with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),  Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the Food Standards Agency, the British Cattle Movement Service, other Local Authorities, the RSPCA and the Police.

Animal Health & Welfare

Trading Standards is responsible for monitoring and investigating animal health and welfare of livestock (particularly at markets and during transport) across Devon & Somerset, ensuring animals are treated correctly and not caused unnecessary suffering. You can find out more about this, as well as how to report any farmed animal welfare concerns at Animal health and welfare.

Animal Movement

Most forms of livestock now need to be traceable from birth onwards, with records kept of when they are moved or sold. They may also be subject to a six-day (or 20-days for pigs) standstill period each time they are moved onto a holding. All livestock owners must be aware of the rules and keep the required records for their animals, while livestock hauliers must also follow appropriate legal requirements. Find out more (including how to get animal movement record books) here.

Animal Feed & Hygiene

Keeping animal feed safe is vital for the welfare of livestock, the protection of consumers and to prevent and contain outbreaks of disease. As a result Trading Standards carefully monitors the manufacture, transportation and storage of animal feed, including feed produced or mixed on farms. You can find more information about legal obligations and good feed storage practice here.

Animal Disease Containment

There are a number of animal diseases which can affect livestock, but having plans in place if an outbreak does occur, helps ensure that the spread is limited and contained. As the 2001 Foot & Mouth outbreak showed, the cost of animal disease can be enormous both monetarily and in its effects on farmers. Trading Standards works hard to ensure contingency plans are in place for various diseases, both trying to stop them reaching the UK and containing them if they get here. Find out more.

Farming Standards Guidance Leaflets

For advice on all manner of farming matters that Trading Standards is involved with – from the rules regarding slaughter outside licensed abattoirs to advice on avoiding and recognising different animal diseases – we have a range of leaflets to help you.