The Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) is developing a strategy for the production and marketing of high health breeding sheep. With HIDB support, farmers in the North of Scotland have formed a co-operative to produce and market high health status sheep. The co-op (the Highlands and Islands Sheep Health Association) has over 800 members with a total of 300,000 breeding ewes. Members' flocks are monitored by the Scottish Veterinary Investigation Service for Enzootic Abortion of Ewes (EAE) and for vaccination against the Clostridial Diseases and Pasteurella. To guide HIDB strategy a postal survey was undertaken of lowground breeding sheep purchasers in Grampian and Borders.
The objectives were to determine, firstly, lowground breeding sheep purchasers' attitudes, opinions and practices when buying breeding sheep; secondly, their management of sheep health; thirdly, their experience of EAE, its prevention and control; and fourthly, their awareness of sheep health schemes and interest in purchasing high health status sheep.