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Animal health and welfare

Avian influenza (bird flu)

Avian influenza (bird flu) mainly affects birds.  It can also affect humans and other mammals.

All bird keepers, whether running a large commercial farm, keeping a few hens in the back garden or rearing game birds, must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. 

There are some simple measures that you should take to protect your birds against the threat of avian influenza:

  • Keep the area where your birds live clean and tidy, humanely control rats and mice and regularly cleanse and disinfect any hard surfaces
  • Clean footwear before and after visiting your birds
  • Place your birds' food and water in fully enclosed areas that are protected from wild birds and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • Keep your birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around the outdoor areas they access

If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompts advice from your vet.

More information can be found on the Gov.uk website.

Trading Standards enforces the laws that regulate those businesses which deal with farmed livestock, including farmers, transporters and markets, as well as those that regulate the manufacture, distribution and supply of animal feed.

We also enforce the laws that apply to animal disease prevention and control as well as those that apply to the movement, identification and traceability of farm animals.

It is important that businesses, including backyard keepers, understand and comply with animal health, welfare and feed hygiene laws, including the rules that apply to animal by-product disposal.

Want to find out more?

Click on the link below to display a range of guidance leaflets that can help you get the information you need:

Animal Health and Welfare Advice

Do you still need help?

If you are a Darlington business or backyard keeper, please email us at [email protected].

How to report abuse or other welfare problems

If you suspect a problem with a farm animal, you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service [external link] by ringing them on 0808 223 1133.

If you suspect that any other animal is being subjected to any form of cruelty, you can report it to the RSCPA [external link].

Useful links