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.


Biosecurity plans should be part of any herd/flock health plan. Good hygiene requires constant effort by all who deal with farm livestock. The following guidelines will help to prevent the spread of animal diseases:


  • only approved disinfectants should be used and dispensed in accordance with specified dilution rates and labelling instructions


  • train staff in the principles of hygiene and disease security
  • include signs directing visitors to the farmhouse/office and urging visitors not to feed animals or get in close contact
  • reduce the number of visitors to your farm; consider having a farm post box at the end of your drive
  • where possible a hard standing area away from livestock should be provided for visitors' vehicles
  • keep farmyard and surroundings clean and tidy to discourage vermin
  • provide cleaning and disinfectant materials for all visitors/workers
  • consider offering protective clothing/footwear
  • wellington boots are the recommended form of footwear on farms because they are easy to clean and disinfect. Use a hand held brush to clean material off the surface and place the boot/sole in the disinfectant solution. Brush away from the face/eyes and avoid contact with the skin. Important: disinfectant is ineffective if dirt is present, therefore thorough cleaning is necessary before disinfectant is applied
  • wash your hands with soap and water after handling livestock
  • avoid wearing dirty clothes and footwear off the farm. This is particularly important when visiting markets, shows, farms and other premises where there are livestock

Buildings, equipment and vehicles

  • vehicles should be kept clean inside and out
  • clean and disinfect vehicles and trailers (preferably with a power hose)
  • pay attention to areas where dirt may be 'hidden', e.g. wheel arches
  • clean and disinfect all shared and hired equipment before and after use
  • animals kept indoors should regularly have fresh clean dry bedding added. Used bedding can cause contamination through urine, faeces, blood, etc. and so should be disposed of away from livestock, humans and watercourses (the SEPA website offers more information)
  • clean and disinfect buildings and equipment after use by livestock
  • used equipment, e.g. disposable clothing, veterinary treatments (such as syringes), should be disposed of safely

Disposal of fallen stock



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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