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28 May 2018 | Online since 2003


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18 May 2018 09:15:40 |Agri Safety,Government,News,Sheep

Scottish farmers welcome consultation on battling livestock worrying


NFU Mutual recently revealed that the cost of claims related to livestock worrying has reached a record level of £1.6 million

NFU Mutual recently revealed that the cost of claims related to livestock worrying has reached a record level of £1.6 million

Scottish farmers have welcomed a consultation towards strengthening the rules on responsible dog ownership around livestock.
MSP Emma Harper has announced to bring forward a consultation on a Members’ Bill to tackle livestock worrying following pressure from farmers.
With an increase in the number of devastating dog attacks on sheep throughout Scotland, NFU Scotland has been pushing the message that dogs need to be controlled around livestock.
The union says authorities need to have clear powers when dealing with such incidents.
Ms Harper, SNP MSP for the South Scotland region said: “I am quite concerned about the amount of livestock worrying that has happened and it may be that I can encourage the Government to help support legislative change, amendments or even a members bill.”
The announcement follows comments by another MSP, who said recent sheep worrying incidents in Scotland is "nothing short of disgraceful".
Kate Forbes MSP denounced such incidents as "wretched", and has also called for the introduction of mandatory leads on dogs around livestock.
'Serious increase'
Following on from the Ms Harper's announcement, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said that livestock worrying is an issue which is effecting farmers the length and breadth of Scotland.
“It is undeniable that there has been a serious increase in the number of incidents reported,” Mr McCornick said.
“We know that a huge number of instances go unreported, so the real scale of the issue is likely to be even greater than what is in the public domain.
“I am delighted that Emma Harper is taking a Members’ Bill to the Scottish Parliament and I look forward to working with her, to push through this badly needed legislative change.
The union has been educating members of the public to put their dogs on leads around livestock at all times, but it says now is the time for affirmative action.
“We want people to enjoy the countryside, but we do not want to sacrifice the livelihood of farmers and crofters just because a minority of dog walkers refuse to put their dogs on a lead,” Mr McCornick added.
Rise of attacks
Rural insurer NFU Mutual recently revealed that the cost of claims related to livestock worrying has reached a record level of £1.6 million across the UK.
The figures follow the release of a report by the All Party Parliamentary Animal Welfare Group which shows more than 1,800 farm animals have been killed by dog attacks in the space of four years.
However, social media is proving an effective tool to educate dog owners on the importance of keeping dogs under control around livestock.
It focuses not only on the devastation that can be caused for the farmer, but also to the dog owner if the animal is shot, or later put down.




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