Opportunity for farmers to help shape the UK sheep industry

The Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) are seeking three new farmer members; one farmer representative from England, one from Scotland and one from Northern Ireland, to help shape the focus of the UK sheep industry. Being part of this group is a great opportunity to make a difference in the industry and influence the direction of travel of sheep health and welfare in the UK. In return, you are more in tune with the latest developments and influences which makes you look at how you manage your flock in a different light.


As part of the role, the farmer representatives are expected to feed in information from their area and other sheep farmers on current health and welfare challenges and provide feedback on initiatives or proposals through attendance at meetings and via the secretariat. Each farmer representative has a term of two years and can remain on the group for a maximum of three, two-year terms. The role is paid a small honorarium and expenses to attend the three meetings per year. We encourage anyone keen to make a difference to the UK sheep industry at such a critical time to apply.

Download the application form 

Applications will close on 5th January 2020. The successful candidates will be announced at the SHAWG Spring meeting in February. For more information, contact Cheryl Barker via email ku.gr1576080932o.bdh1576080932a@rek1576080932rab.l1576080932yrehC1576080932 or by phone on 02476 478893.

What is the Sheep Health and Welfare Group?

The Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) is an independent body with membership that reflects the range of organisations involved in the sheep industry.  It acts as an extremely useful link between representatives of the sheep industry with Government departments and their agencies.

SHAWG was established in 2009 and has financial support from AHDB Beef & Lamb. One of the main projects in 2017 is communication to help reduce antibiotic use on sheep through best practice advice.

The second edition of the Sheep Health and Welfare Report 2018/19 is now available. Download your copy here.

SHAWG’s main objectives are:

  1. To reduce the impact of endemic disease by acting on surveillance data and new knowledge
  2. To ensure the industry is aware of the threat of any new or re-emerging diseases
  3. To promote and encourage responsible use of medicines, including anthelmintics and antimicrobials
  4. To ensure welfare is maintained as a priority for the sheep industry
  5. To highlight the role of nutrition in good health and welfare
  6. To deliver an integrated approach with all stakeholders, allied support industries, retailers and Government

SHAWG is also responsible for the organisation and running of the  Sheep Health and Welfare Conference

The makeup of SHAWG supplies an immensely valuable resource for the sector, providing a wide ranging and deep knowledge of sheep health and welfare, and collaborating on behalf of the sheep farming industry for the benefit of flock health and welfare. Find out who our members are.

SHAWG has established a set of Terms of Reference to ensure that the work we do remains targeted and does not duplicate work that others in the sector are already undertaking.


Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group

The Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group is a sub group of SHAWG. It is responsible for coordinating the activity around antibiotic use in the sheep sector and report on behalf of the sheep industry to Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA).

Current out puts of this group are:

  • Calculation of metrics for benchmarking antibiotic use of sheep farms (Download PDF)
  • Guidance for veterinary surgeons and farmers on responsible use of antibiotics in sheep (Download pdf)

The group is chaired by Fiona Lovatt with Charles Sercombe as the RUMA liaison and AHDB providing the secretariat. Group membership includes: National Sheep Association (NSA), Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS), National Farmers Union (NFU), Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA).