More than 1,800 farm animals have been killed by dog attacks in the space of four years, according to a new report which highlights the blight of livestock worrying.
The report, released by the influential All Party Parliamentary Animal Welfare Group on Thursday evening (16 November), calls for more action to tackle the growing problem of livestock worrying. This involves dogs off leads chasing and attacking sheep and cattle. The report shows that 1,866 farm animals have been killed, 1,614 have been injured and 92 dogs have been shot in ‘worrying’ incidents from September 2013 to September 2017.
The report has called to make livestock worrying a recordable crime to ensure more accurate records, as the farming industry fears that the statistics are likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Dog owners could face harsher penalties under new legislation proposed by the cross-party group.
Farmers have described how they constantly deal with the problem of livestock worrying, with incidents recorded on an almost daily basis around the UK. Sheep and cattle are valuable assets and any harm to them harms a farmer’s livelihood.
Eric Dowson, Head Farmer at Mrs Dowsons, in light of the report has urged dog walkers to continue enjoying the countryside responsibly, "We at Mrs Dowsons, want to get the wider public out into the countryside and fields as much as possible, enjoy the land we work so hard to maintain."
"However, common sense and dog owners need to be responsible, each year spring is a worrying time for our sheep flock, just one dog attack incident could result in a whole flock aborting. Our dairy herd is just as much as risk year round when out in the fields, we place a huge amount of trust in dog walkers and the wider walking community to respect the countryside and our farming way of life."