Funding for farmers to test animal health and welfare reviews

Defra is looking to recruit farmers in England to test its animal health and welfare review plans.

It is looking for registered livestock keepers who are eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and who have either 11 or more beef or dairy cattle, 21 or more sheep, or 51 or more pigs.

Part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, the scheme is designed to encourage improvements in farm animal health and welfare and will involve a vet visiting the farm to carry out an annual review.

See also: Pig and Poultry Fair – new animal health review wants pig farmers for soft launch

The vet visits will be funded by Defra, with farmers paid a standard rate of £522 for beef cattle, £372 for dairy cattle, £436 for sheep and £684 for pigs.

Each vet visit will last up to three hours, during which advice will be given on both health and welfare of stock and farm biosecurity.

The visit may also involve diagnostic testing, advice on the use of medicines or signposting to other financial support.

Testing process 

Farmers and vets have already done some preliminary work on issues such as how farmers will apply and make a claim for a review.

See also: Farmers to be paid for delivery of better animal welfare

However, Defra is looking for more livestock farmers to get involved so it can put other parts of the process under the microscope.

For example, it wants them to assess the service on the website where farmers will need to apply.

Vets are also being recruited to gain a better understanding of how they will interact with the service.

Defra says farmers will not need to be expert with computers – all it wants to know is what works and what doesn’t, so it can make the service better.

Livestock producers will be asked to give their feedback in the form of a survey. 

Any documents submitted while testing will be anonymised and will not be used in future inspections.

The testing will be rolled out in phases over the summer and autumn.

Farmers who are keen to sign up to the scheme early to help test it are being asked to register their interest by emailing

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This article forms part of Farmers Weekly’s Transition series, which looks at how farmers can make their businesses more financially and environmentally sustainable.

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