To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance her Department is providing to farmers to help tackle sheep lameness.
I certainly recognise that lameness in sheep is a significant welfare issue. Over a number of years ADAS, on behalf of DEFRA, have provided comprehensive welfare advice through a variety of media to producers and private veterinary surgeons on the control and prevention of lameness in sheep, most recently in their 2011 advisory programme for farmers. The Sheep Welfare Code contains specific recommendations on the management of lameness and practical measures to help prevent, or treat the condition can be found on the DEFRA website in the 2003 publication 'Lameness in Sheep'.
I also fully support the work of the Food Animal Initiative and National Sheep Association in their 'Stamp out Lameness' campaign which aims to raise awareness in the farming industry of one of the most significant welfare issues in sheep. It also aims to promote a proven, yet practical 'Five Step' lameness reduction plan which has been shown to cut lameness by up to half in the first year.