Farmers in the UK can now receive payments for a vet to visit their farm as part of a new initiative to improve farm animal health and welfare.
The government will provide funding for cattle, sheep and pig farmers for a vet or vet-led team to visit their enterprise to conduct a yearly review.
The measure, part of the Annual Health and Review, is the first step of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway to support the “gradual and continual” improvement in farm animal health and welfare.
Animal welfare payments
A vet – of a farmer’s choice – will visit a farmer’s enterprise for up to three hours, during which they will offer advice on their animal’s health and welfare and on-farm biosecurity.
According to a statement from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this may include advice on medicine use, diagnostic testing, and signposting to other financial support.
The vet will compile a written report with a set of agreed recommendations and actions to improve livestock health and welfare.
Vets may also review biosecurity measures and provide advice in relation to vaccinations and antibiotics that you are utilising on your enterprise.
They may also conduct testing for various diseases, including those listed below, and share information regarding test results.
The review aims to reduce endemic diseases such as BVD in cattle, residence to parasite treatment in sheep and PRRS in pigs.
Also, it strives to increase farm productivity, ensure the appropriate use of veterinary medicines and vaccines and improve animal welfare.
Payment for farmers
Farmers will receive payment – depending on their system, and the government has set payment rates as follows:
- Pig: £684;
- Beef cattle: £522;
- Dairy cattle: £372;
- Sheep: £436.
According to the department, the payment will help cover costs for the vet, testing for endemic diseases and conditions and a farmer’s time.
However, farmers must be registered livestock keepers in England and must be eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme to drawn down payment.
The department is in the process of continuing to test the review and is seeking farmers’ feedback through a survey.
It will roll out testing in phases over this summer period until autumn. It confirmed that funding would be available for a three-year period, and it will “review the situation thereafter”.
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