Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG)

The fifth Sheep Health and Welfare Group (SHAWG) conference took place on Tuesday 24 November 2020 via an online conferencing platform. Achieving record attendence, the speakers delivered inspiring presentations which generated excellent discussion. If you missed the conference then you can watch the sessions online, click here to access the SHAWG 2020 conference recordings


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

SHAWG had financial support from AHDB Beef & Lamb; the group has since merged with the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) to form the Ruminant Health & Welfare Group.  

One of the main SHAWG projects was focussed around communications to help reduce antibiotic use in sheep production.

SHAWG’s remit was to:

  1. Reduce the impact of endemic disease by acting on surveillance data and new knowledge
  2. Ensure the industry was aware of threats of new or re-emerging diseases
  3. Promote and encourage responsible use of medicines, including anthelmintics and antimicrobials
  4. Ensure welfare was maintained as a priority for the sheep industry
  5. Highlight the role of nutrition in good health and welfare
  6. Deliver an integrated approach with stakeholders, allied industries, retailers and Government

Sheep Health and Welfare Conference

SHAWG was also responsible for the organisation and running of the Sheep Health and Welfare Conference which ran every two years. Details from previous conferences can be found below - 






Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group

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

Outputs of the group were:

The group was chaired by Fiona Lovatt with Charles Sercombe as the RUMA liaison and AHDB providing the secretariat. Group membership included: 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), Red Tractor, Farm Assured Welsh Livestock and Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA).