Alpaca trekking has become a big business all over Britain with hundreds of farms welcoming members of the public to walk an alpaca. This particular form of agri-tourism is relatively new and includes ‘alpaca experiences’, visits to old people’s homes, work with trauma survivors, people with mental health problems and so on. Alpacas are popular as ring bearers at weddings and for hen parties and company outings.
All this activity brings new obligations for the alpaca keepers involved. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were enforced in October 2018.
This legislation is intended to strengthen the protection of animal welfare in businesses which work with animals. It introduces five new areas of licensing, one of which is entitled ‘Keeping or training animals for exhibition’. Businesses which require and obtain a licence under the legislation must then comply with the relevant licensing conditions.
The rise in popularity has also prompted the British Alpaca Society and British Llama Society to update their code of conduct for trekking and guidance. Both documents are set out in full below.