The current re-evaluation of responsibility and cost sharing between the public and private sectors with reference to animal health and welfare (AHW) would be improved by a greater understanding of the contributions made at farm level. This knowledge would facilitate the design of a cost-sharing system which best balances technical, economic and political objectives. This paper presents a framework by which the farm-level investment in AHW can be assessed. An evaluation of data available for the framework was made and, as a benchmark, an estimate of total expenditure on veterinary medical inputs for commercial agricultural holdings in England calculated. In 2010/2011 it is calculated that farmers on commercial holdings in England spent £230 million on veterinary medicines and fees, with an additional £160 million being spent for horses kept on non-commercial holdings. By contrast, for 2012/2013, Defra budgeted £277 million on AHW. The results presented emphasise the critical importance of generating sufficient evidence to support the development of an efficient, equitable and sustainable AHW strategy.
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