Code of Practice


Code of Practice

Welfare Without Compromise

Our animals are extremely important to us, and we are committed to providing a quality service to clients, while ensuring that the wellbeing of our animals is of prime importance.  The following Code of Practice, to which we adhere at all times, encapsulates our company policy with relation to the use of animals in our work.

As the underpinning husbandry and welfare principles for our animals, we have adopted the “THE FIVE FREEDOMS”, formulated by John Webster (Professor of Animal Husbandry at Bristol University); these principles are internationally accepted as best husbandry practice:

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  • Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind, where appropriate.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Full and proper records of each Honeybank animal are kept and maintained by management.

In addition, Honeybank animals are:

  • Bred in captivity and cared for to the highest standards of welfare, placing the animals’ needs above those of the business.
  • Properly trained and habituated/tamed.
  • Housed in clean accommodation, with access to food, water and shelter.
  • Given opportunities to exercise on a daily basis for their fitness, health and general wellbeing.
  • Properly housed, fed, equipped and trained.
  • Transported in accordance with Transport of Animals orders by a qualified transporter.
  • Transported in suitable caging, with due regard to temperature control.
  • Given veterinary treatment and/or vaccinations, as necessary.
  • Wherever practical, marked with a unique identification mark (closed ring, micro-chip etc.) to facilitate the identification of each animal, and thus its restoration to us in the event of its loss.
  • Legally obtained and, where appropriate, licensed; we hold EU Article 10 certificates for all animals thus covered.
  • Kept and used in accordance with all current UK, EC and international legislation.
  • Used fewer than three times a week.
  • Accompanied at all times while on site.

Honeybank Management & Staff will;

  • Make every endeavour to cure a sick or injured animal belonging to the company.
  • Take all necessary precautions and actions to ensure that our animals are fit and healthy, and given regular veterinary treatment and/or vaccinations, as necessary.
  • Adhere to Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and LEA regulations and guidelines.
  • Adhere to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines and practices.
  • Adhere to all relevant laws, including the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and the Animal Welfare Act, 2006.
  • Carry out risk assessments for all activities.
  • Use only "tame" animals, i.e. those which are used to being handled.

Other Safeguards

  • There will always be a trained & equipped first-aider present during all school visits.
  • Staff will hold full (enhanced) CRB clearance, renewed at regular intervals.
  • Honeybank will hold £5 million public liability insurance.
  • James McKay is registered under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act, 1925.
  • James McKay is registered with the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
  • Honeybank management recognises that there are hazards in all living things, materials and physical processes, and will assess the risks, taking all necessary action to reduce threats to staff, clients and others.

James McKay personally accompanies all animals to venues, and it is James who presents all sessions.