Animal welfare refers to the quality of life experienced by an animal and encompasses how well the animal is coping with their situation and surroundings. This includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, such as the 5 Freedoms, which is outlined in Section 9 of the Animal Welfare act and states that it is the duty of the persons responsible for the animals to ensure their welfare.

What are the 5 Freedoms?

  1. need for a suitable environment,
  2. need for a suitable diet,
  3. need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
  4. need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
  5. need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Animal Welfare Act 2006 (

At the start of 2023, the government created the Animal Health and Welfare pathway to create a funded annual visit from your chosen vet or team of vets, with the aim to improve animal health and welfare.

Signing up

The first step is to register your interest on GOV.UK:  Annual health and welfare review of livestock (

Before you register you’ll need:

  • Your customer reference number (CRN) – please contact Rural Payments Agency for help finding.
  • The SBI number of the business registering for the review.
  • The business email address linked to the business registering for the review.

You will be provided with an agreement number which must be given to the vet to be included in their review summary.

Check your eligibility

Minimum numbers of livestock are:

  • 11 or more beef cattle.
  • 11 or more dairy cattle.
  • 21 or more sheep.
  • 51 or more pigs.

Livestock must be registered in England and you must be responsible for their welfare. The review can only be used for one species every 10 months. E.g. a sheep review in March and a cattle review the following January. It is currently only available to farmers who are either eligible for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) or anticipate making a BPS claim in 2023.

The business must have:

  • A single business identifier (SBI) linked to a CPH number registered in England.

What will the vet do?

  • Carry out endemic disease or condition testing of the livestock type being reviewed.
  • Advise on the health and welfare of the livestock – including issues such as lameness, body conditioning or mobility scoring.
  • Discuss biosecurity and medicines use.

Tests undertaken – these are likely to change from year to year:

  • BVD for cattle.
  • Dosing check after worming for sheep.
  • PRRS in pigs.

After the review the vet will:

  • Write a report, including recommended follow-up actions and the relevant endemic disease or condition laboratory test results.
  • Provide the farmer with a review summary.

Claiming your funding

Once you have applied for the review and have organised a date with your vet you can start your claim.

Before you start you’ll need:

  • The email address you applied with.
  • The date of the visit to the farm for the review.
  • The name of the vet.
  • The vet’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) number.
  • The laboratory unique reference number (URN) for the test results.

Payment rates

Payment is per species not per animal

  • £522 for beef cattle.
  • £372 for dairy cattle.
  • £436 for sheep.
  • £684 for pigs.

Difference in species is due to cost of diagnostic tests.

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