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Defra-funded vet visits to be rolled out more widely

7th Feb 2023 / By Alistair Driver

Annual Health and Welfare Reviews are set to be rolled out more widely to livestock producers, following successful trials of the initiative.  

houstonThe Defra-funded annual vet visit will available to livestock producers from their chosen vet or team of vets. A key part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, Defra has been testing these vet visits with volunteer vets and farmers since last September.

In a new blog on the Defra website, Stewart Houston, chair of the Pig Pathway and Welfare Pathway Group said:

“The feedback we’ve had from those who’ve taken part in the testing is really encouraging. They commented on how straightforward it was to sign up, the effectiveness of the visit and the promptness of the payments.

“We really encourage you to consider the offer. It’s an opportunity to boost your profitability and prevent you from losing money through endemic disease and conditions such as lameness.”

“The review can be undertaken whenever it works for you. It will allow you and your vet to concentrate on your animals’ specific health and welfare priorities.”

During the visit, the vet will provide with bespoke advice and also carry out some diagnostic testing around endemic diseases – in the case of pigs, this is for PRRS.

Signing up 

The first step is to register your interest on GOV.UK. However, initially, only BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) eligible farmers will be able to register.

“Registering your interest is simple. It will take about 5 minutes,” Mr Houston added. “You must register your interest before you can apply for a review. This is so we can manage the process and make sure you get a good service.

“When we’ve checked that you’re eligible you’ll receive an email inviting you to apply. This includes a link to the guidance.”

The official guidance on eligibility can be found on GOV.UK.

If you are a vet and want to know more about your role in the review, we’ve published guidance for vets on GOV.UK.

Defra has also produced a video guide on how to apply for a review.

The payment rates, which will include the cost of the vet’s time and the diagnostic testing have been agreed at:

£684 for pigs
£436 for sheep
£522 for beef cattle
£372 for dairy cattle

Mr Houston added: “As soon as we have tested the service and it is ready to be made available to more farmers, we will gradually, step by step, open the program up to non-BPS registered farmers, large and small.

“This will allow you to include other farm livestock in your care and make a direct application instead of registering your interest first.

“We’ll learn lessons from the initial roll out and reflect what we learn in improvements to the service as we go. This really is a great opportunity to make a difference to the health and welfare of the animals in your care.”