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APHA’s Centre of Expertise in Extensively Managed Livestock

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About the Centre of Expertise

The Centre of Expertise for surveillance in extensively managed livestock (CoEEML) is based at APHA Carmarthen Veterinary Investigation Centre (VIC). Whilst based in Wales, the Centre is a Great Britain-wide resource and forms part of the wider veterinary surveillance system operated by APHA.

What are extensively managed livestock?

Extensively-managed animals are those that are kept in such a way that they are not easily regularly and closely inspected, for signs of ill health, or significantly altered production.

The definition was determined at a meeting of APHA, Defra and Welsh Government, with extensively managed cattle and sheep being the primary focus. Examples of extensively managed livestock include animals that are kept on common land, uplands, mountains or moors.

Aims of the Centre of Expertise

The aims of the Centre of Expertise are to:

  • Develop engagement with keepers of extensively managed livestock in order to promote disease surveillance activities and improve collection of surveillance data and information on extensively managed livestock
  • Develop communication and information sharing with farmers and vets, to promote healthy livestock, productivity and sustainable farming in extensive systems
  • Develop a virtual hub of expertise in surveillance in extensively managed livestock to complement the Species Expert Groups

Contact the Centre

For further information please contact your local Veterinary Investigation Centre and speak to the CoEEML representative vet within the centre:

Centre Contact name Contact number
Carmarthen Caroline Fenemore and Kitty Robinson 03000 600016
Shrewsbury Suzi Bell 03000 600023
Starcross Harriet McFadzean 03000 600020
Thirsk Alan Murphy 03000 600098

image of surveillance team

Joint leads of the CoEEML Kitty Robinson (L) and Caroline Fenemore (R). 

Current Projects

Free sheep scab testing is now available in Wales all year round

Examination of skin scrape samples from sheep on Welsh farms showing suspect clinical signs of sheep scab is now being offered free of charge all year round.

The scheme, supported by Welsh Government, will encourage the diagnosis of sheep scab, which is a prerequisite for the appropriate treatment and successful control of this disease.

Skin scrape samples will be received in the normal way, via a veterinary surgeon and should be posted direct to APHA Carmarthen VIC, where testing will be undertaken. An epidemiological questionnaire is no longer required to be completed to qualify for free testing, however please ensure samples are accompanied by a fully completed submission form / ADTS submission including a full clinical history and any relevant treatment history.

Further information can be found here (English/Welsh)

Tick borne disease testing in cattle

The dual pan-piroplasm (which includes Babesia divergens) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum (causative agent of tick borne fever) PCR test is now accredited and will soon be offered by APHA on our surveillance test list, to test suspect cases of tick borne disease. In the meantime, APHA are still interested to hear about and discuss cases of tick borne disease in cattle throughout the 2023 grazing season, and may offer some free testing or a farm visit on a case by case basis. Please contact your local VIC to discuss the case and possible further investigation and testing.

Disease information

Disease Surveillance in Extensively Managed Livestock

Ectoparasites including Sheep Scab

Endoparasites including Liver Fluke

Tick-borne diseases


Previous Activities

Activities related to the development of the Centre of Expertise have included three stakeholder conferences and a webinar covering tick-borne diseases.

Stakeholder Conferences

Bristol 2016

Our first conference in Bristol in July 2016 discussed issues faced in monitoring the health and welfare of extensively managed livestock. Fifty five delegates brought together representatives from industry, academia, retail, government and the veterinary profession to share information and develop collaborative ways of working to detect and manage disease and welfare threats.

The full report from the conference, including details on presentations and interactive sessions on how information and data could be better utilised is available.
A strong message gathered from workshop participants was on the better use of existing data. In particular how to provide access to APHA and SRUC Veterinary Services diagnostic data (VIDA) to farmers and veterinary surgeons. This has led to development of online 'GB Disease Surveillance Dashboards' which are now freely available online.

Penrith 2017

A second conference at Newton Rigg College, Penrith in November 2017 allowed interested stakeholders in the north of England and Scotland to contribute to the Centre's development and work. The full report from the conference, including details on presentations and interactive sessions on communication channels and the disease threats and health issues of importance in this sector is available.

Webinar 2020

In December 2020, a webinar brought together expert speakers from the fields of animal and human health to talk about tick-borne diseases. The webinar attracted a wide audience with participants including farmers, private vets, government vets and members of industry, academia and research. The talks were well received and generated some interesting questions and discussion. The majority of these talks are now available to watch on APHA’s YouTube channel:

Aberystwyth 2022

The APHA Centre of Expertise for Extensively Managed Livestock (COEEML) Conference was held on 24th November 2022 at Aberystwyth University. The varied programme of talks attracted delegates from across the UK and Ireland, including vets, farmers, academics, researchers and other stakeholders. 

The full conference report is now available.