Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Working with animal pathogens

Protecting animal and human health

What you must do

Get a licence

If you work with any animal pathogens specified in the regulations, for example foot and mouth disease, you must have a SAPO licence (Specified Animal Pathogen Order).

Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own regulations designed to prevent the spread of animal pathogens and to ensure they are handled in a way that prevents infection.

Your licence will require:

  • Assessment and risk based classification of contained use activities
  • Notification of premises
  • Application of appropriate control measures

Inspections of premises covered by a SAPO licence are carried out by the Health and Safety Executive, or Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

Information on the controls on animal pathogens can be found on the GOV.UK website.

GOV.UK: Animal Pathogens: guidance on controls

In Northern Ireland you can apply for a SAPO Licence, and submit general enquiries to:

Department of Agriculture and Rural development
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Email: daera.helpline@daera-ni.gov.uk.
Tel: 028 9052 4999

In Scotland you can apply for a SAPO licence and submit general enquiries to:

SG Rural Directorate
Animal Health and Welfare
Room 350
Pentland House
47 Robs Loan
EH14 1TY
Email: animal.health@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

The Scottish Government has produced a range of guidance on the issues of animal health and welfare. This covers topics such as animal diseases and biosecurity for farm animals.

Animal Welfare Scotland protects farmed animals from animal pathogen and zoonoses and therefore protects human health from cross infection.

Scottish Government: Animal Health and Welfare

Manage waste safely

Waste materials from your laboratory may contain parts of animals and materials that are classed as animal by-products.

Animal by-products that have been used in research activities, or which could have been infected with diseases during experiments must be treated as Category 1 (high risk) animal by-products.

Category 1 material must be disposed of by:

  • direct incineration
  • rendering - followed by incineration or landfill.

You can find out about dealing with animal by-products in our guidance:

Animal By-products

In this Guideline

Working with animal pathogens

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