Join the march towards stamping out lameness - Veterinary Practice
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Join the march towards stamping out lameness

UK sheep producers are being encouraged to join the
march towards stamping out lameness in the national flock
when the industry highlights how to take the first step
towards better control during July.

Independent experts point out that the later summer
months are a great time to start implementing the proven
Five-Point Plan for sheep lameness reduction, so there
will be plenty of advice available throughout this period
to help farmers kick-start their own disease management

“The sheep industry has made real progress with lameness over the last five years but must maintain momentum
if it is to meet the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC)
target of 2 percent disease incidence in the national flock by
2021,” said Ruth Clements, head of veterinary programmes
at farm-based research and development organisation FAI Farms, which developed the Five-Point Plan.

“Implemented correctly and given long term commitment,
the Five-Point Plan gives sheep farmers a clear framework
for managing lameness effectively because it builds natural
disease resilience within the flock, reduces the disease
challenge and spread on the farm and improves flock
immunity through vaccination. More widespread adoption
on farm will also help the sheep sector cut its use of antibiotics for foot infections and meet new industry targets; a sheep sector task
force facilitated by
RUMA has already
signed up to a 10
percent reduction
in antibiotic use by
2020,” Ruth added.

Ruth said sheep
farmers are generally keen to get
on top of any flock
lameness issues,
but sometimes
feel helpless and often find it
difficult to know how and where to start. “Now’s the time
to start thinking about it seriously,” she said. “Weaning is
an ideal time to cull out any ewes with chronic feet, re-set
the breeding flock for the new sheep year and build from

Farmers looking for practical advice on how to take the
first step towards reducing sheep lameness in their own
flock will be able to visit the MSD Animal Health stands at
the NSA Sheep Event (18 July 2018) in Malvern and the
Royal Welsh Show (22 to 26 July 2018) in Builth Wells.

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