In late 2020, the Ruminant Health and Welfare Group (RHWG) developed a “grassroots” survey to identify the disease, health and welfare priorities of professionals in the sheep and cattle industries. This included responses from both farmers and vets and highlights some of the differences in the perceived impact of key issues between the two.
There were 662 responses to the survey; 76% were farmers and 34% were professionals such as vets or advisers, with 81% of the farmers working with cattle. It was found that in general, professionals scored the impact of diseases higher than farmers, potentially due to farmers seeing more day-to-day issues that a vet wouldn’t likely be called out to. In addition to these diseases, a range of syndromes were also included in the survey including reproductive failure, neonatal/calf disease, bovine respiratory disease, and mastitis.
BVD was highlighted as the second highest impact disease of animal welfare and production, only behind digital dermatitis and above Johne’s disease, liver fluke and viral pneumonia. It has also been highlighted as a priority by Animal Health Ireland, the CHAWG report and the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group. BVD was ranked a higher priority in England than in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, highlighting the need for BVDFree England to continue our work to eradicate BVD.
A workshop, including over 70 leading farmers, vets, researchers and industry stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK took place on the 29th June to identify barriers, goals and interventions for the highest priority diseases. The group has since announced support and plans for the eradication of BVD by 2031.