The introduction of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway

April 1, 2023

Last month, after much delay, DEFRA launched their new initiative in the form of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway (AHWP). This will form a key part of the wider agricultural transition plan.

The goals for this incentive are based around 4 key pillars:

  • Supporting farmers in transitioning to higher welfare practices and standards
  • Improved biosecurity
  • Tackling the increasing emergence of antimicrobial resistance
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock

Initially, funding will be available to livestock keepers with >10 beef cows, >10 dairy cows, >20 sheep or >50 pigs who also have an SBI number. The plan is then to expand this to all livestock keepers and an increased number of species. Once enrolled (which can now be done online), farmers are able to arrange a visit with one of our vets to discuss endemic disease, animal productivity and how welfare can be improved. It is worth noting here that this is not an audit or inspection and it is also optional.

‘Why is this different to our normal health plan then?’ I hear you say. Well, in truth a lot of it is already covered in our current health plan and review. However, the two key differences are that (1) you will have to carry out certain tests dependent on species and (2) you will get paid for it!

The Testing

To be eligible to receive your funding you will have to perform set tests for your livestock. We will provide more details of this shortly. However, below are the diseases that must be tested for, dependent on species.

  • Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) in beef cattle
  • Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) in dairy cattle
  • The effectiveness of worming treatments in sheep
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) in pigs

The Funding

  • £522 for a beef cattle review
  • £372 for a dairy cattle review
  • 436 for a sheep review
  • £684 for a pig review

Unlike previous initiatives from DEFRA, you will receive this money directly and then pay the vet for the testing and health and welfare review. The review can be redone at a minimum interval of 10 months and must be completed within 6 months of acceptance (worth noting if you plan to perform tests at certain times of year). Currently, farmers can only claim for one species if they are mixed farmers. However, it is proposed that this will expand to allow payment for more than one species per farm.

We will provide more details as we go forward, although we can start carrying out reviews once you are signed up and enrolled. If you have further questions, please give us a call.

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies
Call 24/7 Emergencies Message us