Calls for Wales to be given greater powers to tackle dog attacks on livestock will be music to the ears of the scores of farmers who have to deal with this dire problem. But actions will ultimately speak louder than words.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Llyr Gruffydd has called for Wales to be given the powers to deal with dog attacks on livestock, and met with MSP Emma Harper who has sponsored a Private Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament to tackle the problem.
It shows how the issue has risen up the political agenda in recent times and has become a cause that politicians across the UK want to get involved with. Yet the root cause of attacks is something which still needs tackling head-on, something which is not always easy for police forces which have seen their resources depleted in this age of fiscal austerity.
Farmers Guardian’s oft-imitated Take The Lead campaign has called for a change in laws regarding livestock worrying for several years, yet farmers and landowners continue to face the same problems, often from the same dog owners.
The fact many attacks happen as a result of dogs which have been left at home while their owners are at work is also extremely concerning.
With more and more people from urban areas moving to the countryside to chase the rural dream, it is key that a programme of education is available to show the damage their pets can have.
Barring a common-sense approach from dog owners, a tougher set of legal measures will be needed to reinforce the message that it is completely unacceptable for dogs to be left to kill livestock, whether that is because they are off a lead while on a walk, or because they have scaled the garden wall while their owner is out.
We all know that the countryside is a working landscape, so let us hope the politicians fighting farming’s corner have a degree of success with their common sense goals.