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Veterinary health and welfare planning

Farmed salmon RSPCA veterinary health plan © RSPCA Farm Animals Department

Veterinary health and welfare plans (VHWPs) are action plans aimed at improving the health and welfare of farm animals, which are drawn up between the farmer and his or her veterinary surgeon.


For VHWPs to work effectively, they need to be flexible, farm-specific documents that should be frequently reviewed, updated and developed with advice from the vet, to ensure that the animals' health and welfare remains as good as possible.


In the early 1990s we pioneered the concept of formal veterinary health planning and encouraged its use on farms, with VHWPs being required by the RSPCA welfare standards. Nowadays, the promotion of the wider use of farm health planning is a key initiative under Defra's Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain, and veterinary health plans are now a requirement of many farm assurance schemes.


We continue to work with species-specific veterinary organisations to develop guidance notes to help farmers develop effective veterinary health and welfare plans.


We continually review all of our Veterinary health and welfare plan guidance notes and associated RSPCA welfare standards, based on the latest scientific evidence and practical experience, to ensure that they are as effective as possible. 

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