AMTRA SQPs play a vital role in health, welfare and performance of sheep flocks in UK
Year-round access to British lamb, and farmer pressures on improved performance and profitability, means the role of animal medicines advisors, has never been more important.
The Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) is the professional regulator for AMTRA Suitably Qualified Persons (SQPs), a legal category of professionally qualified persons entitled to prescribe and/or supply certain veterinary medicines.
AMTRA SQPs play a vital role, alongside vets and sheep farmers, in improving the health and performance of flocks, and in doing so improving efficiency and cost effectiveness, ultimately meaning sheep farmers are more profitable.
“In terms of the AMTRA SQP, it is a year-round, and daily commitment to providing advice and guidance for farmers,” explains Mark Pass, a former winner of the AMTRA SQP of the year award and an OTC Gold Standard SQP.
As store manager at Beeston Animal Health, Mark looks after some 400 ovine customers, with approximately 45,000 sheep. Sister company the Willows Vet Group also covers Cheshire and neighbouring counties.
“There is a different focus throughout the year. For example, now at pre-tupping, we are reviewing lamb performance, providing ram MOT semen collections alongside the vet, discussing vaccinations, reviewing parasite control and Faecal Egg Count (FEC) results,” explains Mark.
“We will also be discussing nutrition and trace element profiles, and I will run through blood test results alongside the vet.
Throughout the year, AMTRA SQPs around the country will provide similar support, with these animal medicines advisors helping farmers in a range of ways, including reviewing the vaccine plan and body condition score of ewes, reviewing fluke control plans, planning worm control, and looking at fly strike prevention plans.
“I am very active every day, and passionate to get on top of, and stamp out sheep scab and sheep lameness. In particular, AMTRA’s close involvement with and support of SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep), means as an AMTRA SQP we play an important role in getting an accurate diagnosis and planning treatments,” adds Mark.
Stephen Dawson, AMTRA secretary general explains, “AMTRA SQPs are qualified professionals, offering free and impartial advice on issues such as resistance, responsible use of wormers and other medicines, and general animal health and welfare.
“Through their professional advice on responsible use, AMTRA SQPs support industry-wide efforts to keep animal medicines effective into the future,” concludes Mr Dawson.
Stephen Dawson – AMTRA secretary general