Sheep (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB5162)

Management: Handling


  1. All sheep farmers should have easily operated and efficient handling pens, to facilitate routine management and treatment, on a size and scale to suit the flock numbers. Pens and floors should be maintained in good repair and should not have any sharp edges or projections, which might injure sheep.
  2. When sheep are to be transported, well designed collecting, loading and unloading facilities should be available on the farm. It is helpful if the sheep are familiar with these handling pens in order to minimise stress levels.
  3. Sheep should not be caught by the fleece alone. They should be handled or restrained by means of a hand or an arm under the neck (holding the neck wool, if necessary) with the other arm placed on or around the rear. lifting or dragging sheep by the fleece, tail, ears, horns or legs is unacceptable. Care should be taken with horns, which may be broken off if sheep are roughly handled.
  4. Devices such as raddles, harnesses, tethers and yokes should be of suitable material and should be properly fitted and adjusted to avoid causing injury or discomfort. They should be checked regularly and should not be used for longer than necessary. Tethering by the horns is unacceptable.
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