Uptake of the lameness Five-Point Plan and its association with farmer-reported lameness prevalence: a cross-sectional study of 532 UK sheep farmers

Best, C.M., Roden, J., Pyatt, A.Z., Behnke, M.C. and Phillips, K. (2020) Uptake of the lameness Five-Point Plan and its association with farmer-reported lameness prevalence: a cross-sectional study of 532 UK sheep farmers. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 181 (105064).

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Abstract

The aims of this research were to determine the uptake of a national strategy to reduce lameness in the UK flock, known as the Five-Point Plan (5 P P); explore the association between footrot vaccination (Footvax®) use and 5 P P adoption; investigate the management practices associated with farmer-reported percentage lameness through risk factor analysis; and identify the population attributable fractions of these management practices. In 2014, the 5 P P was launched to provide a practical, farm-level framework to help farmers reduce lameness to reach Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) targets. No published studies have explicitly explored its uptake in UK flocks nor its association with lameness prevalence. Understanding what parts of the 5 P P farmers adopt and which elements contribute towards the greatest reduction in lameness are integral in informing future strategies. Between November 2018 and February 2019, 532 UK sheep farmers completed a cross-sectional online and paper-based survey. The geometric mean of farmer-reported percentage lameness in ewes was 3.2 % (95 % CI: 2.8–3.6). Farmers adopted a median of 3 points of the plan, but was only fully-adopted by 5.8 % of farmers. The number of points adopted increased with flock size, with larger commercial flocks more likely to cull and vaccinate against footrot, but smaller, pedigree flocks were more likely to treat individual lame sheep. Vaccination was poorly associated with the uptake of other points of the 5 P P. Eight flock management factors were associated with significantly higher percentage lameness in ewes; not carrying out measures to avoid lameness transmission, not quarantining bought in stock, not treating individual lame sheep within three days, maintaining an open flock and foot trimming were all associated with a higher risk of lameness in flocks studied. In addition, using Footvax® for ≤5 years was associated with a higher risk of lameness, although vaccination could be a consequence of high flock lameness or these farmers were not implementing other effective managements, such as treating promptly. The highest PAFs were calculated for trimming lame sheep (16.9 %), maintaining an open flock (13.5 %) and not carrying out measures to avoid lameness transmission (11.8 %). We provide new evidence documenting the benefits of adopting parts of the 5 P P on reducing lameness prevalence in UK flocks, although uptake of these measures could be improved in flocks. Encouraging uptake of these measures could make an important contribution towards reducing the prevalence of lameness and reaching 2021 FAWC ≤ 2% lameness prevalence targets.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Lameness Five-Point Plan Sheep, Survey, Risk factors, Population attributable fraction
Divisions: Animal Production, Welfare and Veterinary Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2020 10:49
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2020 10:49
URI: https://hau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17568

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