Defra is looking for farmers to come forward to test the first elements of the Pig Health and Welfare Pathway, which will use public money to support improvements in farm animal health and welfare.
The first step of the pathway is the Annual Health and Welfare Review. Starting this autumn, farmers who keep cattle, sheep and pigs can get funding for a vet or vet-led team to visit their farm and carry out a yearly review.
Each vet visit can last up to three hours, and vets will offer advice on both the health and welfare of their animals and on farm biosecurity. This review could include diagnostic testing, advice on the use of medicines or signposting to other financial support.
Defra has worked with farmers and vets to test aspects of the review, including guidance for vets on how to carry out a review, how farmers access and use the digital service and the process for a vet carrying out a review.
But, in a blog, which can be viewed here, it explains that it is looking for more farms to test others aspects of the Pathway, including the service on GOV.UK that farmers will use. This includes the content for their applications on the Government website and how vets will interact with the service, includes basic information about each farm and the results of diagnostic testing following a vet visit.
“You don’t need to be an expert with computers – all we need to know from you is what works and what doesn’t so we can make the service better. You’ll give your feedback in a survey,” Defra said. “Any documents submitted while testing will all be anonymised. This is not an inspection and the information from testing won’t be used in inspections.
To take part, pig farmers need to be registered livestock keepers in England who are eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and keep 51 or more pigs. Defra is also looking for registered and practicing vets.
The testing will be rolled out in phases over the summer until autumn 2022 and should fit alongside daily farming activities. Defra stressed that by helping to test the review, producers will gain early access to the service – pig farmers will receive a payment of £684 for taking part.
To register your interest and to find out more, email [email protected]
You can view a video providing more Introduction to the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway (AHWP) HERE.