Cattle and sheep health and welfare priorities - a 'grassroots' survey

Cattle and sheep diseases erode animal welfare and production efficiency, and addressing them must be the focus of future policy and research efforts in the UK.

While priority diseases have already been established in some UK nations and by a range of expert groups, Ruminant Health & Welfare, a new cross-UK industry body involving all key organisations operating in the sheep and cattle sectors, wants to go further.

We would like to balance current evidence with a better understanding of the views of farmers, shepherds, herd managers and farm vets – all those who work closely with sheep and cattle on a daily basis.

In order to do this, we invited people in these occupations from all over the UK to take part in a survey to review a range of diseases and conditions, the majority of which have been identified by expert groups as having a significant impact on our industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

We wanted to know from survey participants which they believed were the most important challenges – and if there were others they believed should be included.

The survey closed at midnight on Sunday 10 January and despite it being a lengthy survey, we are delighted to have received over 700 responses. Once analysed, the results of this survey will help to identify industry-wide disease and welfare impacts – as well as specific regional or sectoral disease issues in both sheep and cattle. The results will also feed into Ruminant Health & Welfare’s activities, and may influence future research programmes. 

We would like to thank everyone who took part. Results will be posted here in due course, but in the meantime we can let you know that the prize draw for three £50 hampers has taken place and the winners are:

Oliver Tranter from Wales

Richard Brown from SE England

Allan Young from Scotland

We will be contacting them to send the hampers.