Farm animals and livestock
The role of local authorities in farm animal welfare during the COVID-19 outbreak
Local authority staff are well placed to support the farming industry in these difficult times, due to the obvious advantage of local knowledge.
In the event of illness or isolation having a detrimental impact on a business, a local solution e.g. neighbours notified and help targeted via industry groups such as RSABI, NFUS, SAC is generally the best. Local authority Animal Health and Welfare staff often know the individuals involved, which can speed up response and action to correct any animal welfare concerns.
On-farm welfare problems will only result in a visit from the local authority (almost certainly with APHA staff) in the case of serious welfare difficulties. Ongoing welfare issues will be addressed (in the main) through multi-agency agreement and non-face-to-face interaction with the farmer.
During the current situation, elderly and vulnerable farmers may be isolated from outside contact, from contract assistance and from the monitoring and assistance of friends and family. With good local knowledge of the situation, local friends, relatives, or neighbours can assist the livestock holder if necessary (compliant with Scottish Government social distancing guidelines for minimising the risk of transmission of COVID-19) to improve animal welfare.
It may be appropriate to introduce public health and/or social work support for vulnerable farmers, and this can and will be done subject to the current (and updated) guidelines.
Contact with the local authority Animal Health and Welfare Service will be made by normal communication channels.
It may be of assistance to farmers encountering difficulties to refer to the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) via https://www.fas.scot/publication/farm-emergency-plan/.
Lantra Scotland Skills Matching Service
Lantra Scotland have launched a new Skills Matching Service to respond to the urgent need for skilled workers and volunteers in the land-based industries and animal welfare sector.
If anyone needs help with animal welfare work, or if people are struggling to look after their animals due to ill health or the current COVID-19 restrictions they can visit Lantra Scotland’s website to register their details. Individuals can also register if they wish to offer their labour, skills and knowledge to others.
They can also phone Lantra Scotland on 01738 310164 or email SMS@lantra.co.uk.