SMR 11 Welfare of Calves

The aim of this requirement is to ensure the welfare of calves (bovine animals up to six months old) by meeting minimum standards for their care and husbandry. These requirements apply to you if you keep calves in addition to the other requirements for the Welfare of Farm Animals (SMR 13).

Routine Inspections of Animals and Freedom of Movement

You must:

  •  Inspect all housed calves at least twice a day
  • If kept outside, inspect them at least once a day to check that they are in a good state of well-being
  • Ensure that all calves are able to stand up, lie down, turn around, rest and groom themselves without difficulty i.e. freedom of movement
  • Treat ill calves appropriately, promptly, obtain veterinary advice if appropriate and isolate

You must not:

  •  Tether your calves (exception – you may tether group housed calves for up to one hour, when feeding only)
  • Cause injury to the calf if tethers are used
  • Muzzle calves
  • Confine a calf to an individual pen after 8 weeks of age without a veterinary certificate (Exception – this requirement does not apply to premises with fewer than 6 calves)


  • Floors inside a building must be:
    • smooth but not slippery
    • suitable for the type of calf
    • comfortable with suitable bedding g. straw (for calves up to 2 weeks of age), clean and adequately drained
    • designed and managed in such a way as not to cause an injury to the calves
  • Artificial lighting must be equivalent to normal daylight hours i.e. 8 hours/day
  • Houses, pens, equipment and utensils must be clean and be able to be disinfected in order to prevent cross contamination
  • Individual pens must have perforated walls which will allow calves to see and touch each other (except for those where a sick calf is isolated)
  • Electrical appliances must be kept away from calves


You must:

 Provide colostrum within 6 hours of birth

  • Feed all weaned calves at least twice a However once a day feeding is permitted in a recognised management system
  • Ensure that groups of calves have adequate access to feed at the same time
  • Ensure that there is adequate access to fresh water at all times
  • Ensure that all calves get access to minimum daily ration of fibrous food (e.g. straw, hay) and that there is sufficient Iron in the food

SMR 11 Inspections

Inspections will involve checks for compliance on:

  • Conditions for rearing calves
  • Specific welfare requirements for:
    • Accommodation/freedom of movement/ bedding
    • Tethering
  • Feeding, food, water and colostrum

SMR 12 Welfare of Pigs

The aim of this requirement is to protect the welfare of pigs by meeting minimum standards for their care and husbandry. These requirements apply to you if you keep pigs in addition to the requirements for the Welfare of Farm Animals (SMR 13).

Freedom of Movement

You must:

  • Ensure that pigs are free to turn around and lie down at the same time
  • Only tether pigs for veterinary purposes
  • Ensure that there is an unobstructed area available behind the sow/gilt for the use of natural or assisted farrowing
  • Allow the minimum floor spaces required

Routine Pig Inspections

You must:

  •  Take measures to prevent fighting where in groups by:
    • Providing a plentiful supply of straw
    • Separating aggressive pigs
    • Minimising/early mixing
  • Ensure that individual pens for sick/injured/bullied pigs allow pigs to turn around easily
  • Limit the use of tranquillising medicines to facilitate mixing of pigs and be in regular consultation with your veterinary surgeon regarding their use
  • Ensure that pigs are treated for external or internal parasites where necessary
  • Ensure that pregnant sows/gilts are thoroughly cleaned if moved to a farrowing crate

Pig Accommodation


 Continuous loud noise of greater than 85 decibels is not permitted

  • Must have a comfortable lying area, drained and clean, allow all pigs in the group to lie at the same time and be able to see other pigs
  • The building must be maintained at a comfortable temperature
  • The correct measurements for individual and group pig pens must be adhered to at all times ( animalhealthwelfare/animalwelfare/Pig_Welfare_ pdf)
  • If pigs are kept in artificially lit buildings, you must provide lighting of at least 40 lux for a minimum of 8 hours a day
  • Floors of buildings used to house pigs must be smooth but not slippery, designed and maintained so as not to injure pigs and suitable for the type of pig
  • If using slatted floors the minimum width of the opening and the minimum width of the slat must be adhered to (refer to the requirements)
  • Provide suitable nesting material one week before farrowing
  • Boar pens should allow boar to turn around, hear, smell and see other pigs (6m2 /adult boar)
  • Piglets must be able to rest at the same time and suckle without difficulty
  • Farrowing rails must be provided in the case of loose sow housing to protect piglets
  • There must be permanent access to sufficient quantity of manipulable material for growing pigs that does not compromise the health of the pig
  • Sows and gilts must be kept in groups during a period starting from four weeks after service to one week before expected time of farrowing (except in cases of holdings of fewer than 10 sows and for sick or injured animals)

Pig Nutrition


  •  All pigs must be fed at least once a day and if in groups must have access to feed at the same time
  • All pigs greater than 2 weeks old must have permanent access to freshwater
  • Dry pregnant sows and gilts must have sufficient bulky or high fibre food as well as high energy feed

Pig Weaning Procedures

  • You cannot wean a piglet at less than 28 days old unless for health and safety reasons of dam or piglet
  • You can wean at 21 days old if moved into specialised housing that is thoroughly cleansed and disinfected to minimise transmission of disease


  • You cannot carry out routine tail docking/teeth clipping unless there is evidence of injuries to other pigs after other measures have been taken first
  • You can only castrate or tail dock after 7 days when it is carried out by a veterinary practitioner

SMR 12 Inspections

Inspections will involve checks for compliance on:

  • Conditions for rearing and fattening pigs
  • Specific welfare requirements for:
    • Boars
    • Sows and gilts
    • Piglets
    • Weaners and rearing pigs

Common Non-Compliances include:

  • Deficiencies in buildings/accommodations/lighting
  • Deficiencies in staffing and inspections of pigs
  • Inadequate management of automated or mechanical equipment
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Mutilations

SMR 13 Welfare of Farm Animals

 The aim of this requirement is to protect the welfare of farmed animals by meeting minimum standards for their care and husbandry. These requirements apply to you if you keep any species of farmed animals for farming purposes.

Concept of Animal Welfare

Animals must be kept free from:

  • Thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  • Unnecessary pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • Stress and fear
  • Impediments to express normal behaviour

Inspection requirements for Animal Welfare are broken down into the following 9 Sections:

  • Staffing
  • Inspections of animals
  • Record Keeping
  • Freedom of Movement
  • Buildings, Accommodation & Lighting
  • Equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Mutilations
  • Breeding Procedures


  • Animals must be cared for by a sufficient number of competent staff at all times

Inspection of Animals

  • Animals must be inspected at appropriate intervals and at least once a day
  • There must be adequate lighting to enable a thorough inspection
  • Any ill or injured animals must be cared for appropriately without delay
  • Isolation facilities to be used when necessary

Record keeping

You must:

 Keep records of:

    • Any medicinal treatments for at least 5 years
    • The number of mortalities on the farm g. NBAS 31D forms for at least 3 years
    • Make available all records on request by any authorised person

Freedom of Movement

  • You must not restrict your animals’ freedom of movement if this causes unnecessary suffering or injury. Overcrowding in livestock sheds can lead to issues regarding the freedom of movement of all animals. Animals should be able to lie down at the same time and freely move about
  • If animals are regularly confined, you must give them enough space to avoid unnecessary stress

Buildings, Accommodation and Lighting

  • Materials and equipment used in building accommodation must not be harmful to your animals
  • Materials and equipment must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected
  • Accommodation and fittings for securing animals must not have sharp edges or protrusions likely to cause injury
  • There must be adequate air circulation or ventilation
  • You must ensure that there is adequate natural or artificial lighting
  • Animals kept outdoors must be given protection from adverse weather, predators and risks to their health


  • Automated or mechanical equipment must be inspected daily to ensure that there are no faults which could lead to the injury of animals
  • Ensure that the backup and alarm system for artificial ventilation systems is tested regularly to warn of a breakdown


You must:

 Ensure all animals are fed a diet which is appropriate to their age and species

  • Ensure all animals have access to feed at appropriate intervals
  • Ensure all animals have access to freshwater or other fluids each day
  • Ensure that the contamination of feeding and watering equipment does not occur. Troughs etc. should be routinely examined to ensure no contamination of the feed or water
  • Not give animals food or liquid in a manner which may cause them unnecessary suffering or injury
  • Not administer substances e.g. animal remedies etc. detrimental to the health and welfare of your animals unless on the advice of a veterinary practitioner


  • You cannot tail dock cattle
  • You cannot carry out the following without a local anaesthetic:
    • Dehorn/Disbud calves if older than 14 days
    • Castrate cattle if the animal is over 6 months of age
    • Tail docking lambs if older than 7 days
    • Castrate sheep if older than 3 months

Breeding Procedures

  • You must not carry out natural or artificial breeding or breeding procedures which cause suffering or injury to animals e.g. breeding immature heifers
  • You must not keep animals for farming purposes that due to their genetic or physical characteristics will have detrimental effects on their health and welfare

SMR 13 Inspections

Inspections will involve checks for compliance on:

  • Conditions for keeping animals
  • Nutrition
  • Staffing & record keeping
  • Mutilations


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