Animal health newsletter

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Avian Flu 2023

On 18 April 2023 Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) lifted the mandatory housing measures for poultry and captive birds. The restrictions were put in place across England to help stop the spread of bird flu

Bird and poultry keepers must continue to follow strict biosecurity rules to prevent bird flu and stop it spreading.

Animal Health and Welfare Grants - apply now

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 towards the cost of items designed to improve the health and welfare of livestock. The deadline is 15 June at midday.

If you are a livestock farmer who keeps cattle, pigs, sheep, broiler chickens or laying hens, this is a great opportunity to get some funding towards the cost of items that will help improve the health and welfare of your livestock. The grant funding should also bring productivity and environmental benefits for the farmer.

If you're interested in the grant, take a look at the list of eligible items and consider having a chat with your vet to assist in deciding the best options to meet the specific health and welfare challenges on your farm.

Before making an application, read the official grant guidance on GOV.UK.

Scams – how to identify and protect your ID and business

An increasing number of farmers are being targeted by scammers and are advised to be vigilant in taking steps to identify scams by routinely undertaking routine checks.

What to do

Ask yourself: "Am I expecting this?" and "Is the sender or caller who they claim to be?".

If in doubt, establish if the caller/emailer is genuine by contacting the person they are purporting to be through their contact details in an original document or their business website.

Never use numbers or addresses provided in a suspicious message.

A bank will never phone or email a customer to ask for their online password or request a payment to be made over the phone using an online account.

How farmers are targeted by scammers

Scammers exploit specific times in the farming calendar by providing links to fake websites designed to look like an authentic Rural Payments Service (RPA) or Fonline service. The government websites would never ask a claimant to supply personal information in an email or text.

Be aware of emails, texts and phone scams that claim to be from the His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Farmers are at risk of Invoice fraud through receipt of scam invoices that impersonate a regular farm supplier that persuade the farmer to change the bank account to the scammer's bank.

Farmers should be aware of advertisements for stolen farm machinery and equipment. Check the market value and the legitimate reason the price is low before making a purchase and identifiable features such as serial numbers and related documentation.

Further advice


Defra reported on 31 January 2023 that 1.09 million fly-tipping incidents on public land were reported to local councils in 2021/2022 at a cost of £10.7 million. Local authorities carried out 507,000 enforcement actions in 2021/22

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) reported that these figures fail to reflect the full scale of the crime because reports of fly-tipping on private rural land are not included. Local Authorities are responsible for clearing waste from public land only.

Fly-tipping affects 67% of farmers and is estimated to cost them £47 million every year. The average cost to clean up an incident is £800.

Waste crime comes in many forms, from organised crime groups, illegal waste exports, the mis-classification of waste to avoid landfill charges, to smaller scale fly-tipping and dumping of waste.

Around 65% of dumping is 'household waste' often from unscrupulous businesses and individuals. They offer to clear away rubbish from sheds and garages for a cut price fee with no intention of legitimate disposal, simply dumping it in a woodland or rural road.

Waste that is fly tipped solely on a public highway is the responsibility of Surrey County Council.

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) cattle vaccine

Bovine TB vaccine field trials are taking place on commercial livestock farms across the country and are due to be completed in 2023. If successful, the UK will be a step closer to being able to vaccinate cattle against this endemic disease and adding significant tools to those currently available..

Bovine tuberculosis continues to be one of the most difficult and intractable animal health challenges that the UK faces and costs taxpayers in England around £100 million every year. Over 38,000 cattle in England and Wales were slaughtered in 2021 to tackle the disease.

Further information on Bovine TB, including the vaccine, is available via the TB Hub.

Ash Dieback

Farmers and visitors to the countryside cannot fail to notice the loss of ash trees that is expected kill up to 80% of the trees across the UK at a cost of billions. It will change the landscape forever and threatens many species which rely on the ash.

Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) is a fungus which originated in Asia. Europe and introduced to Europe about 30 years ago. It has devastated the European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) because our native species did not evolve with the fungus and has no natural defence against it.

LEAF has produced a practical manual with expert guidance, outlining six simple steps to help farmers and landowners identify, assess and manage ash dieback.

Farmers Community Network (FCN) – providing a listening ear and support to farmers in need

FCN has a network of 400 volunteers who have a great understanding of the issues farm workers and farming families regularly face and runs a free, confidential national Helpline (number below) and e-Helpline which are open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm.

How to contact FCN

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