Shropshire Star

CLA backs new powers to tackle livestock worrying

Proposals to give police greater powers to respond to incidents of dogs attacking or chasing livestock have been welcomed.

Victoria Vyvyan, CLA President

Livestock worrying – when dogs chase, attack, or cause distress to livestock – can result in significant injury and suffering and, in the worst cases, the death of the animals involved.

The incidents are also distressing for livestock keepers and can have significant financial costs.

Conservative former environment secretary Therese Coffey wants to introduce a series of measures designed to make it easier for police to catch offenders and secure more prosecutions connected to livestock worrying.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill applies to England and Wales and revives plans paused by the Government last year.

The Bill has Government backing and received an unopposed second reading last week.

Now the Country Land and Business Association has backed the plans.

President Victoria Vyvyan said: "The CLA has long lobbied for greater powers for police to tackle livestock worrying and welcomes this announcement.

“Attacks on livestock cause great distress to farmers and threaten their livelihood. Farm animals worth £1 million were killed or injured by dogs in 2022, a 50% increase since 2019.

“As lambing season approaches, the CLA is telling dog owners that they must keep their dogs under close control, especially near livestock, and to stick to public rights of way. If you see an incident please report it to police.”

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP said: “We have heard from the police that they need more up to date powers to help them identify the dogs that are attacking and worrying livestock, and subsequently their owners. It is great to get out and enjoy nature, but dog owners should be careful and ideally put their dogs on a lead when on or near a working farm to avoid such attacks.”

Farming Minister Mark Spencer added: “Livestock worrying has a devastating impact, causing distress to farmers and their animals, as well as the financial implications.

“This Bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”

The Bill will undergo further scrutiny at a later stage.

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