Animal welfare

Livestock contractors are vital to securing high standards of animal welfare, in specialised but essential services such as shearing, scanning or dipping.


Sheep dipping

The NAAC continues to work with the Home Office to annually renegotiate the entry of overseas shearers into the UK, having successfully lobbied for a special concession for shearers.

Regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, the NAAC was key in securing the unrestricted movement of shearers around the UK and worked with Governments in England, Scotland and Wales to put in place guidance for safe shearing.

A match-making service for shearers was implemented in 2020 with support from industry, to bring UK shearers together with contractors to get shearing carried out successfully despite the pandemic.

The NAAC continues to run the Shearing Register in 2021.

In the meantime, the NAAC has worked with other industry organisations to put in place guidance on sheep shearing to help ensure high standards of animal welfare. Members can access a template letter in the Members Area.

A new Code of Practice has been launched by the NAAC, in conjunction with the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group, to ensure access to the best advice on effective treatment of sheep scab with organophosphate (OP) sheep dip, minimising risks to users and the environment.

Confirmation of resistance in sheep scab mites to the injectable macrocyclic lactone (ML) scab treatments, coupled with increasing concern that the use of these products is accelerating resistance to the MLs in gut-worm populations, means more and more sheep farmers have been turning to OP dipping for the treatment of sheep scab. In contrast, the number of farmers with their own dipping facilities has continued to fall, due to tighter regulation of the purchase, use and disposal of OP dipwash. This means they have increasingly been turning to professional mobile dipping contractors – highlighting the need for support to those service providers.

Jill Hewitt, NAAC Chief Executive, says: “This Code will help sheep farmers and dipping contractors work in partnership to ensure high standards are always met. Mutual agreement is vital on sourcing dip, siting the mobile dip and the disposal of the used dip to ensure the whole job is done safely, legally and without harm to the environment. A simple written agreement is recommended so that everyone is clear of their responsibilities. A sample checklist is included in the Code.’

The NAAC has a list of professional sheep dip contractors which can be found in Find a Contractor.

NAAC Business Guides for members

Useful links

These guides are available to members in the Members Area:

  • Industry shearing guidance
  • Covid-19 checklist for shearing contractors and farmers 2020
  • Sheep shearer template letter to authorise travel