It seems we cannot go a week without hearing the heartbreaking details of yet another farming tragedy. Little wonder then, that agriculture’s unwanted reputation as one of the most dangerous industries in Britain seems impossible to shake off.
And as we enter an extremely busy period for our farming industry, time and weather pressures may make it tempting to take a short cut or rush a job in order to get on to the next. This is why the initiative proposed by Devon Young Farmers, which is set to be rolled out across the country, has to be welcomed.
It is only by raising greater awareness of safety, particularly among the younger generation, that we can start to change attitudes and reverse this depressing trend. News of the Woodland Trust being left with no option but to close one of its sites due to the sheer number of dog attacks on sheep is indicative of just how sorry the situation is.
The irresponsible actions of those walkers – some of whom verbally abused staff who were trying to protect livestock – have spoilt the enjoyment of the area for everyone else. It is symptomatic of the sheep worrying problem – the irresponsible minority ruining things for the responsible majority and, at the same time, giving dog owners a bad name.
That is why Farmers Guardian’s Take the Lead campaign, a public-facing initiative aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership, is so important.
To find out more about what we are doing, which includes speaking at dog industry events, working with national publications including The Times, and feeding into the Animal Health and Welfare Board group which aims to tighten up the law around livestock attacks, visit www.fginsight.com/sheepworrying.
As with Devon YFC’s health and safety campaign, a change in attitudes can be achieved, but it will require the industry to work together to bring about lasting results.
News on pig price highs will surely boost morale. Let’s hope this upward curve continues.