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Improving sheep welfare

We're working in many different ways to improve the welfare of sheep at all stages of their lives. Here are some of the things we're doing.

Developing welfare standards for sheep

We have developed detailed welfare standards for sheep, which contain hundreds of requirements to ensure that higher standards of animal welfare are met at all stages of their lives. These cover all areas that might affect sheep welfare, including food and water, flock management, environment, health, transport and humane slaughter.

Engaging with governments, retailers and sheep farmers

We take every opportunity to put forward our views and concerns for the welfare of sheep to decision makers, including government, retailers and farmers. For example, we gave a presentation at an expert workshop on the welfare of extensively farmed sheep and contributed to the resulting report.

We are also a member of the Sheep Health and Welfare Group in England. This group contains members from all parts of the sheep industry, and is designed to identify the major issues affecting sheep health and welfare in England and improve these conditions through a series of industry-wide initiatives.

Scientific research into sheep welfare

Scientific evidence is important input to finding practical solutions to sheep welfare problems, as well as for developing our welfare standards. In the past, we've funded research into foot rot control methods, and commissioned an educational video outlining the various conditions causing lameness in sheep, how to diagnose, treat, prevent and even eradicate them completely.

Reducing livestock worrying by dogs

We worked with the National Sheep Association and National Farmers' Union to distribute signs and educational posters throughout England and Wales asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leads and under control near livestock.

Find out how you can be a responsible dog walker to protect the welfare of sheep.

Find out more