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Alpacas Going Public

Are You Insured and Licensed when Your Camelids Meet the People?  “If you open your farm to the public and have staff and or volunteers working for you, then you are at risk”.
Here, Jacinta Nastalie reminds Alpaca owners how recently introduced legislation exposes them to hitherto unforeseen liabilities, as increasing numbers of them, and their animals, are interacting with the General Public.

Partly, this is an insurance issue. Your usual insurance, taken out by owners of Alpacas and Llamas, covers their animals for death from accident, sickness or disease. Thought is often not given to the increasing interaction with the general public which exposes new threats to your businesses.

It is also a matter of licencing. Anyone who keeps camelids which are expected to interact with the public must be licensed by their local County Council. The licence insists that owners adhere to the new Animal Welfare Regulations which were introduced in October 2018.

This new legislation has been done in order to bring the licensing regime up to date with local government regulation and improving animal care standards and make it compatible with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. There are several changes to this legalisation, so it is important to read the new Regulations and Conditions carefully to ensure compliance.

“The costs of the license can vary enormously – however, whatever the cost, it is an essential requirement if your animals meet the general public. Your licence will be provided by your local council. In most instances, it will require you to have the correct insurance in place”, Jacinta reminds.

Licensable activities include selling animals as pets, hiring out, breeding, and keeping or training animals for exhibition. These remain covered by existing legislation but do still require a licence.

In terms of the key changes, the emphasis is put on the suitability of the environment for the particular needs of the animal. As an owner, you need to ensure that arrangements for suitable transport are included, and if you have a web site you must display the licence holder’s name and the licence number.

A suitable Smallholders Public Liability Insurance provides for the requirements of a licence. The risks farmers are exposed to includes a wider range of on and off-farm activities undertaken, by smallholders with their animals, and on their properties.

Jacinta adds: “H&H Insurance Brokers, Armitage in-Livestock Policy is available throughout the UK and is designed specifically for people with land ranging from half an acre to 50 acres, with insurance needs that are much more complex. This product has evolved to meet the new dangers to farmers that these bring with them.

“This covers all general smallholding activities, and keeping animals, and while exhibiting animals at shows or events in the United Kingdom. Now that many owners are diversifying, the insurance also covers activities such as the public walking with alpacas, school visits, or taking alpacas to care homes, and weddings. This protects your animals and anyone who meets them.

“Several owners consider Public Liability Insurance simply because they are concerned about an animal escaping from the property and causing injury or damage. However, if someone is on your property and gets injured or becomes ill because of your negligence, you are the one who is liable.”

Any member of the public could sue the owner for negligence if an injury occurs, so if individuals or organised groups come onto your land, cover is essential, whether these are School groups, Scouts, Young Farmers, or Open Days for Families. The visiting public should be properly briefed about the risks, in advance if possible and certainly as they arrive.

Jacinta concludes, “Covering all these risks is the purpose of Public Liability Insurance, and these days, no one can afford to be without adequate protection. Armitage in-Livestock, has a long history in arranging bespoke insurances, for owners of Camelids and settling claims.”

12th June 2019

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