Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Report sheds light on use of farm health plans
Eighty-four per cent of health plans were created with the help of a vet or adviser, a figure that has risen steadily from 60 per cent in 2009.

More plans written by vets, but slight drop in farmers using plans

Recent figures from Defra suggest the number of farmers using farm health plans has fallen slightly in the past year, while just over half are using their plan to routinely inform decisions.

Defra’s Farm Practices Survey revealed that 73 per cent of farmers had a health plan in 2019, compared to 75 per cent last year.

Of these, 55 per cent said they used their health plan on a routine basis to inform disease management decisions.

In total, 89 per cent said they used it routinely or when they could to inform these decisions, while four per cent felt they should be doing so. Seven per cent did not feel it was necessary to use the plan.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent of health plans were created with the help of a vet or adviser, a figure that has risen steadily from 60 per cent in 2009.

Most farmers had a written or recorded plan (63 per cent) and the number of farmers with a plan that was not recorded fell from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

The number of farmers who undertake training for animal health, welfare and disease management - either routinely or when they can - rose to 60 per cent in 2019, compared to 58 per cent the previous year.

A further 10 per cent said they felt they should undertake training, but 30 per cent did not feel it was necessary.

Following the report, MSD Animal Health expressed concern over some of the figures and urged more farmers to use proactive ongoing health plans.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."