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Animal health and welfare
North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards service is responsible for enforcement of animal health and welfare legislation. This protects the welfare of livestock on farms, at markets and during transportation.
This work is carried out by our animal health and welfare inspectors. Their duties include ensuring livestock is correctly identified and is moved with the required movement documents and cattle passports. Inspectors carry out checks of records at farms, markets, slaughterhouses and during transportation to ensure that there is full traceability of livestock movements. To reduce the risk of disease outbreak the inspectors also ensure that carcases are disposed of by the correct methods.
The animal health and welfare team also provides advice and assistance to North Yorkshire farmers and traders on the animal health and welfare legislation.
Prevention and control of animal infectious diseases is a large part of the teams remit. Below you will find brief details on the main "notifiable" infectious diseases that can affect animals. As all of these diseases are notifiable, you must notify your local Animal Health office if you suspect any of these diseases are present in your animals. For North Yorkshire the contact details for reporting suspect animals to Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for the Yorkshire and Humber region are 01132 796121.
Anthrax is an acute and fatal disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus Anthracis. All species of animal including humans can be affected by the virus. Among cattle and sheep, the illness period is short and animals may die without showing signs of illness. Anthrax is not always fatal for cattle and sheep and the animals may be ill for several days. In pigs and horses the disease is usually fatal but takes a longer time to affect the animal.
Signs of anthrax to look for in sheep and cattle are:
Signs of anthrax to look for in horses and pigs are:
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious disease affecting many species of birds, including commercial, wild and pet birds. There are two types of the virus, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI). They are categorized into these two types depending on the diseases ability to spread.
Signs of avian influenza in birds are:
Birds can be affected with low pathogenic avian influenza and not show any signs.
Bluetongue Virus is a disease of animals that affects all ruminants (sheep, cattle, goats, deer and camelids). Bluetongue does not affect horses, pigs or humans. The disease is caused by a virus which is spread through biting midges. The spread of the virus is most likely in the summer and autumn months, when the midge is at its highest population.
Signs to watch for in sheep and cattle are:
Deaths in sheep flocks caused by the virus can reach as high as 70 per cent. Animals that survive the disease can lose condition with a reduction in meat and wool production. In cattle, the disease requires laboratory testing for confirmation.
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and African Swine Fever (ASF)
Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and African Swine Fever (ASF) are highly contagious diseases in pigs, each caused by a virus. CSF and ASF have similar symptoms and therefore laboratory testing is necessary to distinguish between them. The main source of CSF appears to be from pigs eating infected pork or pork products. Equally the movement of infected pigs is a possible method of spreading CSF.
Symptoms to look for:
Classical Swine Fever can have a high mortality rate, with a high percentage of sick pigs dying.
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
Foot and Mouth Disease is an infectious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals like cattle sheep, pigs, goats and deer. FMD also affects camelids and elephants.
FMD is highly contagious and has serious effects on animal's health and the economics of the livestock industry. FMD is not normally fatal to adult animals, however it is debilitating, causing lameness and it can reduce productivity as milk yields may drop. Foot and Mouth Disease has more serious affects on young livestock and a higher mortality rate.
Signs to watch for in cattle, sheep and pigs:
Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious disease spread amongst most birds. Birds affected by this disease include fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, guinea fowl and other wild and captive birds, including ratites such as ostriches, emus and rhea.
Signs to look for:
The disease can cause high mortality rates and the above symptoms are also very similar to Avian Influenza.
Rabies is a fatal disease of the nervous system that can affect all mammals; this includes humans, cats, dogs, farmed animals and wildlife.
The disease is spread by the bite of an infected animal as the virus is present in the saliva.
Signs to look for:
Classical rabies was eradicated in land animals in the UK in 1992, quarantine requirements and the pets passport scheme help to keep the UK rabies free.
A strain of rabies called European Bat Lyssavirus (EBLV 2) has been detected in some species of bats in the UK.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile Virus is a viral infection that effect birds, horses and humans. The virus is spread by insects mainly mosquitoes by biting infected birds and contracting the virus. The mosquito will then pass this virus onto humans and horses when they are bitten. This then causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord).
The horse seems the most susceptible to infection but most cases are sub-clinical with the horse showing no obvious signs of disease. But sometimes infected animals will develop a fever or encephalitis.
For more information on all notifiable diseases please visit the Defra website
Animal health and welfare - frequently asked questions
Avian flu - frequently asked questions