Consultation on the reform of farm animal welfare codes

Closed 8 Aug 2013

Opened 27 Jun 2013


The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on the proposal to reform the existing system of on farm animal welfare guidance. This consultation focuses on the principle of moving from statutory farm animal welfare codes to guidance that is drafted collaboratively but led by the relevant livestock industry.

The objective of this proposal is to ensure that guidance on how keepers comply with farm animal welfare legislation is up to date, reflecting the latest scientific and veterinary knowledge whilst being presented in the most relevant way for farmers.

All views are welcome but those interested in farm animal welfare, whether they are involved in keeping animals for farming purposes or have an interest as citizens or consumers, are particularly encouraged to respond to this proposal.

We would prefer you to give us your answers to the consultation questions and your views using the online survey. If you are unable to do so, responses can be sent to the Animal Welfare Team by email or post.

Enquiries and responses should be directed / sent to:

The Animal Welfare Team, Area 5D, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR or

There is a link to the consultation document and consultation letter below. Alternatively, if you would like to receive hard copies of these documents, you can contact the Animal Welfare Team at the postal or email address above and these documents will be sent to you.

Our consultation will run in parallel with one organised by the British Poultry Council on a draft example of guidance in the proposed new format for meat chickens and breeding birds (see for further details).

Why your views matter

The Government is seeking views on reforming the farm animal welfare codes because existing Defra farm animal welfare codes, of which there are 10 (excluding game birds), are statutory and thus any changes require the provision of Parliamentary time and legislative preparation.  As a consequence, all are now out-of-date, many over 20 years old and with some not even including significant legislative changes that have occurred in the interim. 

In line with the conclusions of the Macdonald Task Force Report, we are proposing the replacement of these codes with guidance jointly owned and drafted by the relevant industry sector and Defra.  One of the benefits of such guidance is that it can be updated more easily than statutory codes to reflect the latest scientific and technical developments in animal husbandry.

What happens next

In due course we will publish a summary of all responses here along with the outcome to the consultation.

When this consultation ends, a copy of the responses will be available from the Animal Welfare Team ( This is so that the public can review them. Also, members of the public may ask for a copy of the responses under Freedom of Information legislation.



  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Farmers


  • Animals
  • Egg industry
  • Poultry industry
  • Dairy industry
  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Poultry
  • Sheep and goats
  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare
  • Farm management