Farm businesses - our responsibility and the law

We are responsible for protecting the health and welfare of livestock (farmed animals) across Bedford Borough and we enforce a wide range of legislation relating to the keeping of livestock.

Our work covers:

  • the prevention and monitoring of animal diseases such as Avian Influenza, Foot and Mouth, Bluetongue, BSE and Rabies
  • identification, movement and record keeping of livestock
  • the disposal of dead animals and other animal by-products
  • animal feed and food hygiene

We use a number of methods to deliver our duties including:

  • visits to farms and abattoirs
  • checking farm records by postal recall
  • reacting to complaints
  • inspecting livestock vehicles in transit

We actively investigate any serious breach of legislation and deal with many complaints and referrals each year, taking appropriate and proportionate enforcement action against offenders.

The new Trade Co-operation Agreement between the UK and EU

The new Trade Co-operation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU came into force on 31 December 2020. Businesses need to be aware of the new regulations and required paperwork for the movement of goods to and from the UK and the EU.

See information about the agreement here.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England effective from 11 November 2020.

The AIPZ means all bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.

In addition, new housing measures will come into force on the 14 December 2020. The new housing measures mean from the 14 December 2020 it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors, except in very specific circumstances, and follow strict biosecurity measures to try to eradicate the disease. The new housing measures will be in addition to the biosecurity regulations brought in as part of the AIPZ on 11 November 2020.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7).

Farm advice and support

We provide information and advice about animal health and welfare to farmers and those who own livestock.

Please send us your questions or concerns to

Advice is also available from: