Reporting farmed animal cruelty

When Viva! investigates factory farming we report our findings to every authority who can have an influence. We may call a vet to the scene (we have contacted the RSPCA as well as private vets). Plus, of course, we give our evidence to the retailers (often supermarkets) the farm is supplying. This sometimes results in the retailer(s) dropping the farm as a supplier. We also notify Red Tractor who have suspended many farms that we have exposed. We may also (if relevant) contact the land owner (this resulted in a pig farm being demolished in 2021). In addition, we contact the media – both national and local. All the above, collectively, have resulted in millions of people seeing the conditions animals endure and in the last year we have had a farm demolished; a farmer is being prosecuted; we have made a documentary on factory farming to be aired on Netflix in 2022 and most farms have lost/had suspended their accreditation.

But what can you do if you see cruelty to farmed animal(s)?

If you have concerns about a farmed animal’s welfare, it’s important to know what to do so that you can help the animal as quickly as possible. On this page, find out what to do when you witness different forms of farmed animal cruelty and who you need to contact.

Unwell or injured animals on farms

Before contacting any organisations, try to record as much information as you can, including:

The name of the farm

Some farms will have their name on a sign by the entrance, or you may be able to find the farm’s name on Google Maps.

The location of the farm

Be as specific as possible, including the street name and postcode if you can. What3words is a useful free app which pinpoints the exact location of any place; authorities use what3words as an efficient and accurate resource to identify the correct location as quickly as possible.

When the incident occurred

Include the date and time, as accurately as you can.

Outline what you witnessed

Write down or make a voice recording of exactly what happened, how many animals are involved and their species. If possible, capture the incident with photos and videos.

Who was involved

If you know the name of any people involved in the incident, make sure to write them down.

If you witness a sick, dying or injured animal who is not receiving appropriate medical care, or if you see one or more animals who are distressed or in danger then contact the below authority immediately and include as many of the above details as you can.

If the incident occurred in England or Wales, contact the RSPCA: 0300 1234 999

If the incident occurred in Scotland, contact the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 03000 999 999

If the incident occurred in Northern Ireland, contact the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 028 3025 1000

If you know that the farm is a member of the RSPCA Assured certification scheme, contact the RSPCA on 01403 286 170. If the farm is part of their certification scheme, they should be able to act more quickly.

Alternatively, or additionally, you can report the situation to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (this is an agency which is a part of Defra):

  • England: 03000 200 301 / customeradvice@apha.gov.uk
  • Wales: 0300 303 8268 / apha.cymruwales@apha.gov.uk
  • Scotland: Check your local field office / apha.scotland@apha.gov.u

Investigating a Factory Farm

Pig in dirty shed

If you know of a factory farm and have evidence of how the animals are treated, please send the details (see list above) to campaigns@viva.org.uk

Animals suffering in extreme weather conditions

  • You may witness farmed animals who:
  • Have no access to clean water
  • Have no access to shade and/or shelter
  • Have no access to well-drained areas to lie down on
  • Are suffering from heat stress, such as sheep who have thick wool in the middle of summer
  • Are suffering from the cold, such as sheep who have been shorn and are kept outside in winter
  • Or are in any other way suffering from inappropriate conditions.

If the incident occurred in England or Wales, contact the RSPCA: 0300 1234 999

If the incident occurred in Scotland, contact the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 03000 999 999

If the incident occurred in Northern Ireland, contact the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 028 3025 1000

Alternatively, or additionally, report the incident to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA):

  • England: 03000 200 301 / customeradvice@apha.gov.uk
  • Wales: 0300 303 8268 / apha.cymruwales@apha.gov.uk
  • Scotland: Check your local field office / apha.scotland@apha.gov.uk

Farmed animals being used in entertainment

Horse looks at camera
Horse used for entertainment purposes

Unfortunately, it is still legal for many animals to be used and abused for entertainment purposes. However, if you witness animals who are suffering within the context of ‘entertainment’ illegally, such as mistreated horses or people racing pigs, then the same contact details apply:

If the incident occurred in England or Wales, contact the RSPCA: 0300 1234 999

If the incident occurred in Scotland, contact the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 03000 999 999

If the incident occurred in Northern Ireland, contact the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: 028 3025 1000

Transport

low angle and rear view of a transportation turkey truck on the roads, lot of white turkeys in cages, The process of transporting poultry from the farm to the slaughterhouse.
Turkeys in live transit | Credit: Valmedia

Contact APHA or the trading standards department of your local authority if you are concerned about the welfare of farmed animals as they are being transported or treated at a livestock market.

It is worth reading up on the government’s legal conditions for the transportation of farmed animals before contacting your local authority so that you know exactly how the animals’ welfare has been breached.

Report the situation to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA):

  • England: 03000 200 301 / customeradvice@apha.gov.uk
  • Wales: 0300 303 8268 / apha.cymruwales@apha.gov.uk
  • Scotland: Check your local field office / apha.scotland@apha.gov.uk

Slaughter

Broiler chicken preparing for slaughter

We have always campaigned for the end of the slaughter of innocent animals. There is no humane way to rear and slaughter animals to use their bodies, and so it can seem oxymoronic to discuss ‘concern’ for farmed animals who are at abattoirs.

However, while we are unable to end the slaughter of animals yet, it is still important to contact the Food Standards Agency (FSA) if you know of farmed animals who are being slaughtered outside of an official slaughter plant, or if you know of abuse or neglect of farmed animals at abattoirs which breaches legal rules.

Contact the police if it is an emergency on 999 or contact your local authority.

Fox hunting and other crimes

Fox hunting
Fox hunting

If you witness or know of livestock theft, hare coursing, fox hunting or dogs worrying livestock on farmland, contact the police as they are all crimes. Dial 999 if it is an emergency or 101 if it is a non-emergency.

Outbreaks of suspected disease

 

If you are concerned about the hygiene of, or diseases on a farm then contact the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (part of Defra):

  • England: 03000 200 301 / customeradvice@apha.gov.uk
  • Wales: 0300 303 8268 / apha.cymruwales@apha.gov.uk
  • Scotland: Check your local field office / apha.scotland@apha.gov.uk

When animals die on farms, the farmers are responsible for arranging fast, safe and legal collection and disposal of the carcasses. If you are concerned about dead livestock or carcass disposal, please contact your Local Trading Standards Office.

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