Biosecurity practices for animal health: guidance

Biosecurity is a set of management practices that collectively reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of animal disease-causing organisms onto and between farms.


The Scottish Government wishes to encourage everyone to take responsibility for biosecurity to avoid the devastating effects of animal disease. This is vital in terms of controlling and eradicating any notifiable diseases, and more generally in terms of maximising livestock health, welfare and productivity in Scotland.

Key practices are:

  • separation and isolation
  • buying in animals
  • hygiene
  • clean food and water
  • slurry management
  • traceability and identification

Role in disease control

Vigilance and good biosecurity are the best form of defense against an outbreak of a notifiable disease, both in terms of prevention and, should disease reach Scotland, in terms of quickly bringing the situation under control.

To ensure that animal keepers are well informed of what to do, guidance has been prepared for a number of specific diseases. Further information, including the legislative requirements that will be in place in the event of an outbreak, can be found in the exotic diseases of animals: contingency framework plan.

If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Role in livestock health and welfare and economic sustainability

Although biosecurity becomes particularly important during a notifiable disease outbreak, these basic practices should be routinely adopted as part of farm management to help reduce the burden of endemic disease in Scottish livestock. Biosecurity plans should be part of any herd or flock health plan.



Tel: 0300 244 9874
Fax: 0300 244 9797

Scottish Government
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Animal Health and Welfare
P Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

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