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Biosecurity at animal gatherings

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Good biosecurity is an important part of preventing the spread of disease at animal gatherings.

An animal gathering is when animals are brought together for one or more of the following purposes:

  • a sale show or exhibition
  • onward consignment within Great Britain
  • inspection to confirm the animals possess specific breed characteristics.

These events are typically held on market premises or are livestock shows. At markets, animals are brought together and then moved away creating a risk of rapid disease spread. People can transfer disease from animal gatherings to livestock on their clothing, vehicles and footwear. If any of these are contaminated there is a risk of carrying disease until they are properly cleansed and disinfected.

The Animal Gatherings Order has been amended to address biosecurity issues in a more proportionate and enforceable way. The main changes are:

  • deletion of the autumn sheep sales exemptio, now included in the single licence
  • removal of some specific requirements imposed on the licensees at a gathering, now included in the guidance
  • revision of the times when the gathering can be open to receive animals.

A new Order, licence and good practice guidance for industry has been produced:

  • The Animal Gatherings (Wales) Order 2010 - sets out the rules and requirements for animal gatherings.
  • guidance on best practice - It is in the interests of everyone to follow the guidance and ensure good biosecurity at animal gatherings.
  • the licence application - the premises application, the disease contingency plan and the animal gatherings order implementation plan. Copies of these documents are available from Animal and Plant Health Agency (external link).

Attending a gathering

Vehicles must continue to be cleansed and disinfected following the rules set out in the Transport of Animals (Cleansing and Disinfection) (Wales) (No.3) Order 2003 (as amended).

All licensed premises must have a biosecurity officer. Their job is to minimise the risk of disease being brought on the premises. If you take animals to a gathering, follow any instruction the biosecurity officer or the show organiser give you. Enforcement authorities can still take action if there is a biosecurity risk at a gathering.

After visiting an animal show or gathering

After any visit to an agricultural show always ensure that you disinfect hands after coming into contact with livestock, plant material or soil.

Also ensure that your vehicle is clean before returning to your farm.

Above all we encourage everyone to adopt the mantra of "Keep it out, find it fast, stop it spreading and stamp it out".

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Biosecurity leaflet (File size: 402KB)