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APHA’s Centre of Expertise in Extensively Managed Livestock

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
Penrith Elizabeth Dunnett 03000 600012
Shrewsbury Moyna Richey 03000 600023
Starcross Harriet McFadzean 03000 600020
Thirsk Leanne Forde 03000 600098

Current Projects

Enhanced surveillance for sheep scab in Wales, winter 2021-2022

Examination of skin scrape samples from sheep showing suspect clinical signs of sheep scab is being offered free of charge in Wales, between 13th December 2021 and 31st March 2022.

The scheme, supported by Welsh Government, will aid accurate diagnosis, which is a prerequisite for appropriate treatment and successful control of sheep scab, which is a priority of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework.

Testing will be undertaken at APHA Carmarthen VIC, which is also the centre of expertise for disease surveillance of extensively managed livestock.

Skin scrape samples will be received in the normal way, via a veterinary surgeon and should be posted direct to Carmarthen VIC. 

To gather valuable further information, and aid in interpreting our results and providing relevant feedback, this year we are asking for a short epidemiological questionnaire to be submitted alongside samples. We ask that veterinary surgeons complete this with farmers when taking samples.

Samples can be submitted either:

In addition to a fully completed submission form/ADTS submission, samples must also be accompanied by a fully completed questionnaire in order to qualify for free testing. The questionnaire has been emailed to veterinary practices but please contact us if you require another copy.

For any further queries about this project, please contact the APHA Carmarthen VIC Tel: 0300 060 0016, Email:

Disease information

Farmer feedback from previous stakeholder conferences told us that the top three priority diseases in extensively managed livestock are liver fluke, sheep scab, and tick-borne diseases. Articles of particular relevance are listed below:

Disease Surveillance in Extensively Managed Livestock

Ectoparasites including Sheep Scab

Endoparasites including Liver Fluke

  • Taenia saginata - Transmission of tapeworms between humans and cattle – July 2020 - English | Welsh

Tick-borne diseases


Previous Activities

Activities related to the development of the Centre of Expertise have included two stakeholder conferences. Most recently a webinar was held 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: