Farming Standards

Animal Health and Welfare

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards actively tries to ensure that livestock within the region is well treated and not subjected to unnecessary suffering. We do this in numerous ways, working hard to identify unsatisfactory animal husbandry and to catch on occasions take action against those whose standards fall below the legal requirement, in accordance with our Enforcement Policy.

Livestock Markets

Just as they are vital for farmers, livestock auctions are also central to Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards’ animal welfare work. We routinely attend and monitor the regular auctions in the two counties, which gives us the opportunity to engage with farmers, find out their issues and offer advice on animal welfare issues.

It’s also an opportunity to see stock from a large number of keepers, which can be invaluable in identifying those who are either mistreating or not looking after their animals properly, as well as spotting any other issues that may need further investigation.


Another vital part of our work is intelligence, which can come in from other agencies, as well as members of the public. We follow up numerous reports of animal health and welfare issues, ensuring appropriate action is taken if issues are found. We have a strong track record in prosecuting those found to have caused unnecessary animal suffering or who have put animals or humans at risk due to their inadequate husbandry.

Fallen Stock (Dead Farm Animals)

Trading Standards is in charge of enforcing the important legislation about the disposal of animal carcases. While many people are distressed when they come across dead animals, particularly livestock, it should be remembered it is not necessarily evidence of mistreatment. However if you have concerns/intelligence about how a keeper is disposing of dead animals (which should be done without undue delay by an approved route – read more about this in our leaflet), or if you find a dead farm animal you think the owner may not know about or which is on a highway, contact us.

Guidance On Farming Standards For Livestock Holders

If you keep livestock, it is vital you know how to look after your animals. You must comply with legislation that ensures they are treated well, as well as other laws that help stop the spread of animal disease. The penalties for animal mistreatment can be severe, and saying you didn’t know the law is not an excuse that will be accepted in court. You can find out more about your responsibilities in our Farming Standards Guidance Leaflets.

Making A Complaint About Animal Welfare

If you have a concern about animals at livestock markets, slaughterhouses, in transit, during importation or in regards to possible disease outbreaks, please contact us.

If you have a concern about an animal on a farm, contact the APHA  Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 200301.

For any other animal welfare issues, please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999