A questionnaire survey of farm experience, undertaken during lambing time in the year 2000 by 95 second-year veterinary undergraduate students, highlighted numerous areas of concern. On those farms attended, more than one third of shepherds (32; 34%) neither washed their hands in an
approved scrub nor used arm-length disposable plastic gloves before attempted correction of a lambing problem. Sheep received a prophylactic antibiotic injection after an assisted lambing on just 33 farms (35%), while the majority of farmers (62 farms; 65%) treated only those ewes that became
sick some days after assisted lambing. Veterinary assistance was requested to only 22 of 359 (6.1%) dystocia cases from a sample population of 79 610 lowground ewes. When lambs could not be delivered by farm staff the ewes were either humanely destroyed (65) or injected with antibiotics but
subsequently died because of ensuing toxaemia from the emphysematous lambs in utero (272).