RHWG sets targets for eradicating certain animal diseases

The Ruminant Health and Welfare Group (RHWG) has recently set UK targets for the eradication of sheep scab and BVD by 2031 along with other goals during a workshop held on 29th June.

The workshop was attended by 70 leading farmers, vets and Stakeholders from across the UK to discuss and agree on the targets of the RHWG for the priorities identified by the recent grassroots survey results.

Sheep scab currently affects 10-15% of UK farms with around 8,000 outbreaks per year costing as much as £202 million.

The group set out co-ordinated control, compulsory annual screening, traceability and vaccination to work towards sheep scab eradication. Although a new Moredun vaccine is being developed which has shown to have up to 80% efficacy, it needs to be considered as one tool in the box for the sustainable control of sheep scab rather than a silver bullet.

While BVD eradication is already in progress through different devolved schemes, the group believes that mandatory control through legislation will be the next step for a co-ordinated approach across the UK.

The group also agreed to set a target to reduce dairy cow lameness by 30% year-on-year through the better utilisation of current tools and policy and the collection of robust and consistent data.

RHWG Chair Nigel Miller said that the aim is to “create a new high-health environment across farms of the four nations before the next decade” and that “we need this health platform to elevate animal welfare and play a part in securing export markets.”

More information can be found on the RHWG website.