Coordinated approach needed to tackle ruminant health and welfare

The UK’s levy boards have launched a consultation on a proposal to form a Ruminant Health and Welfare Group to deliver a simpler, more co-ordinated approach to tackling sheep and cattle health and welfare.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) are running the consultation and looking for feedback and comments to assist with defining and supporting the next steps.

The consultation is aimed at businesses and trade organisations involved in the cattle and sheep industry including producers, processors, animal welfare groups, pharma businesses, academics and experts in the field of ruminant health and welfare.

Gwyn Jones, Chair of RUMA and AHDB Dairy Board said: “Domestically, we face ongoing challenges over health and welfare and continuing high levels of endemic disease which erode reputation and public trust as well as margins.

“In terms of export of meat and dairy, there is recognition that improving animal health and welfare status would enable the UK to access more markets.”

HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells said: “Flock and herd health and welfare is vital to our whole supply chain. Proactive health management is key to good husbandry and the sustainability of farm businesses. It’s also central to the message we wish to convey to consumers. This consultation should help to gain the input of the wider industry into how these issues can best be addressed in a co-ordinated and holistic way.”

Alan Clarke, QMS Chief Executive commented: “Our farmers have some of the highest welfare standards across the globe however we are increasingly being faced with a backlash of ill-informed anti-red meat propaganda.

“The formation of this proposed group will help to strengthen the story we have to tell and enhance our high animal health and welfare standards. I’d encourage everyone across the industry to respond to the consultation to help form the next steps.”

The consultation is open until October 25.

Access consultation details

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