The escalating problems caused by livestock worrying have been highlighted by the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) at an All Party Group on Animal Welfare (APGAW) in London.
Alongside the FUW, the APGAW heard from landowners, local government, police and dog charities on what has been done to tackle and prevent dog attacks on livestock, with a view to establishing best practice as a way to reduce the number of attacks.
The FUW has long stressed that in order to protect farm businesses from severe financial and emotional stress, it is imperative that improved public awareness is coupled with central recording of incidences, tighter regulation and better enforcement.
Speaking after the meeting, Elwyn Probert the FUW’s Livestock Committee vice chairman, who farms on the eastern borders of the Brecon Beacons National Park, said: “The APGAW provided an excellent opportunity for the FUW to discuss current issues, showcase our activities and discuss the way forward.
“Unfortunately despite significant industry investment, the public are still not fully aware of their dog’s ability to attack, injure or kill livestock. Furthermore, there is currently no central recording of dog attacks on livestock, which means that the true impact is still unknown and it is likely that many incidents go unreported.”
Earlier this year, the FUW provided evidence to MPs at the House of Lords on the emotional and financial losses that occur following a dog attack on livestock. Losses due to livestock worrying can be in the 10s of thousands of pounds and have even rendered some businesses financially unviable.
“Business losses include loss of stock, production decreases due to stress, abortions and the loss of future earnings from stock. These costs can be significant and are coupled with insurance costs, veterinary bills and carcase disposal,” added Mr Prober.
“The FUW continues to encourage members of the public to keep dogs on a lead near livestock and will use the information gained from the recent APGAW to further its work in this area.”