The CHAWG meets to collaboratively address relevant cattle health and welfare issues. The CHAWG is used by Defra and AHVLA regularly to discuss proposed initiatives and provide feedback on documentation and programmes that (potentially) have an impact at farm level. Part of this role is the attendance of the Chairman of the Group at the Sector Chairs meeting, organised by the Chief Veterinary Officer.

The CHAWG is also responsible for the following initiatives:

  • Farm Health Planning Seminars held at the  Livestock show
  • Implementation and annual reporting on progress of the Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy
  • Writing of the annual Cattle Health and Welfare Report

The makeup of CHAWG provides an immensely valuable resource for the sector, providing a wide ranging and deep knowledge of cattle health and welfare, though importantly are removing their commercial hats and collaborating on behalf of the cattle farming industry for the benefit of cattle health and welfare. Find out who our members are.

The CHAWG 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.

Importantly the work that the CHAWG does compliments the work that our funders, DairyCo and AHDB Beef and Lamb are already undertaking for the cattle farming community.

Read on to find out more of our work….

AMR Mapping report June 2015The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) commissioned the Cattle Health & Welfare Group (CHAWG) to undertake a scoping study to ascertain what antimicrobial usage data are currently being collected and what should be done to develop data collection systems in the UK cattle sector (both dairy and beef).  This report details the current situation and proposes a route forward for the cattle sector to pursue. View the UK cattle industry on antibiotic data press release.

Dairy cow welfare strategy


First published in 2010 with annual progress reporting, the Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy continues to be one of the main pillars of the work undertaken by the Cattle Health and Welfare Group on behalf of the GB dairy sector. Though impressive progress has been made since the original document was launched, the CHAWG took the initiative through 2014 to review, revise and update the Framework to ensure that the priority areas were current and importantly, strategies included to address these and report the sectors progress as a result. 


Agendas and minutes

The CHAWG meets approximately 3 times per annum with additional conference calls where necessary.

Agenda October 2014

Agenda July 2014

Agenda March 2014

Minutes October 2014

Minutes July 2014

Minutes March 2014

Cattle Health and Welfare Report

The CHAWG agreed that to publish an annual report of this nature would be an asset to both industry and others to enable informed decisions regarding the investment of resources. In 2012, the first report was published to demonstrate the trends in cattle-related health and disease issues and subsequent reports will importantly quantify over time the impact of targeted health and welfare actions. The second Cattle Health and Welfare Report was published in July 2014.

Second Cattle Health and Welfare Report press release

Cattle Health and Welfare Report 2014

Cattle Health and Welfare Report 2012

Dairy cow welfare strategy and reviews

Originally developed by the National Farmers Union in conjunction with the CHAWG, the Dairy Cow Welfare Strategy is a set of self imposed targets that are focused in supporting dairy cow welfare.

Each year the CHAWG reviews progress against targets and reports accordingly. Every second year a detailed report is provided as the evaluation.

The CHAWG annually review the actual targets for relevance to the sector based on research and data and update the targets in a transparent manner.

Dairy cow welfare strategy report 2015

Dairy cow welfare report 2012 press release

Dairy cow welfare strategy report 2012

Dairy cow welfare evidence table 2012

Dairy cow welfare strategy report 2011

Dairy cow welfare strategy report 2010

Briefing notes

Schmallenberg and Blue Tongue Briefing

Mycoplasma Bovis briefing

Disease Cost Calculators

As part of the Defra funded Farm Health Planning Initiative in 2009/10, Reading University developed a series of cattle disease cost calculators in an attempt to better understand the costs of disease and importantly the costs associated with different mitigating actions. The CHAWG now manage these calculators for the industry and see them as an excellent tool in the toolbox for disease management.

Currently there are calculators for BVD, Johnes and Digital Dermatitis and can be accessed by following the below link:

Driving BVD eradication initiative

As detailed in our priority work areas, the CHAWG is working collaboratively to develop a national programme of BVD eradication. As a result a small technical working group has been established to work across a multi stakeholder group to steer a course through. The information included in this section will keep you up to speed with developments and provide you with the opportunity to feed into the developmental phase should you have ideas or even information that may assist us in reacting the CHAWG’s desired goal.

BVD tech group report May 2012


The CHAWG are often requested to share with others the work that we do on behalf of the cattle farming sector in relation to Health and Welfare. Presentations that have been previously used by members when addressing interested audiences can be found below.

Presentations delivered at the Farm Health Planning seminars at the Dairy Event (now Livestock Show) are available here:

From 2015

The importance of compliance in eradicating BVD

Health challenges and benefits of calf rearing in a tight spring calving herd

Ketosis – can we slay the dragon?

Performance enhancing parlour practices

VetSynch: the role of the vet in targeted fertility programmes for the future

Reducing lameness through a hoof health breeding index

Johne’s: break the link of infection

From 2014

CHAWG – Who? Why? What?

Using breeding protocols and fertility visits

Tackling Lameness

Transition Cows

Managing Mastitis

Monitoring heifer performance to improve results

Take Home Messages – Farm Health Planning Seminars – 2nd July 2014

Take Home Messages – Farm Health Planning Seminars – 3rd July 2014

From 2013

Who? Why? What?

Improving housing for comfort and health

Struggling to get high yielding holsteins in calf?

Liver fluke in cattle – costs and control

Poultry and other livestock – do they mix?

New tools to help pig farmers tackle disease

How healthy are we now?

Priority work areas

Though the CHAWG appreciate the funding and additional support from AHDB Beef and Lamb and DairyCo, we do recognise that there are limitations to what we can effectively achieve as a Group. With this in mind the CHAWG annually reviews its Priority work areas and focuses on these to ensure tangible deliverables.