NFU Scotland | /animal-health-and-welfare.aspx

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Animal Welfare


What should I be doing now to protect animal welfare in case of staff shortages?

NFU Scotland has also produced a Business Guide Update for members on ensuring animal welfare is protected in light of possible staff absences, available here:  https://www.nfus.org.uk/nfuscontent/business-guides/17550/contingency-planning-for-animal-welfare-corona-virus

Will Veterinary Service be affected?

The BVA has updated its advice to vets regarding what sort of work they should be carrying out as ‘essential’ given the extension of lock down controls.  The new advice allows for greater flexibility for the vet to use judgement on the necessity and risks involved. For further information on the guidance go to: https://www.bva.co.uk/media/3434/bva-guidance-for-veterinary-practices-on-covid-19-from-14-april-2020-final.pdf


Animal Health


Is veterinary surveillance affected – can I still send carcasses for post-mortem?

Veterinary Surveillance is currently operating ‘business as usual’, where you can safely deliver carcasses or samples to veterinary centres, observing social distancing rules, this should continue as usual.  Currently staffing levels are managing but as demand increases or staffing levels fall, they may have to prioritise submissions for those essential for animal welfare situations and necessary national surveillance work.


What statutory testing and veterinary work is still taking place, will I still need to carry out tests such as BVD and TB?

The CVO Scotland’s advice to livestock keepers about statutory testing and veterinary visits can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-livestock-keepers/  Statutory testing like TB, BVD, Salmonella and TSE, should all go ahead as normal.  You should ensure that you are able to maintain safe social distancing and if you are unable to carry out testing because of Covid-19, you should document the reason for audit purposes.  Your testing will be considered overdue and restrictions applied until testing can be completed.


Are labs open for testing samples from Statutory BVD testing?

Most BVD approved labs are continuing BVD testing as normal, with the caveat that turnaround times might be a little longer if they have staff off sick/on self-isolation due to Covid-19.  The exception is SRUC, who are operating their testing laboratory with reduced staff and are prioritising diagnostic samples.  SRUC will continue to accept BVD samples but may have to store them prior to testing in order to get the urgent diagnostic samples done first.  The BVD samples will be tested eventually but SRUC turnaround times will be slower than usual.  

Samples should be sent off for testing as usual.  If you or your vet has not had any communication from their testing lab about Covid-19 arrangements, you may wish to phone or email for an update.  We’d remind everyone to store samples in the fridge between collection and posting to the lab.


I am a member of the sheep health scheme but am unable to carry out testing required in the scheme, what will happen to my status?

Testing for Maedi Visna and EAS as part of the heep health scheme will not be able to take place.  To manage the gap in testing and maintain flock accreditation status certificates wll be required based on a signed declaration from the flock keeper that the rules of the programme are and will be followed. There will be no requirement to blood sample and test animals until such time as the restrictions to sampling at the farm are removed as a consequence of a change in the national Covid 19 infection control strategy.

When routine testing is resumed, members whose tests have been delayed will be given a three-month period in which to have blood sampling and testing completed.  Their certification status will be maintained during this period and we will maintain clear communication with our members on the changing requirements.

For further details see:   https://www.sruc.ac.uk/news/article/2628/sheep_and_goat_health_scheme







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