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Countryside visitors must ‘act responsibly’ to avoid endangering rural communities

Last weekend’s (March 21 and 22) recent spring sunshine saw an influx of visitors to the countryside, sparking outrage from farmers over coronavirus concerns.  

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Countryside visitors must ‘act responsibly’ to avoid endangering rural communities

Many National Parks, such as the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as rural villages across the UK, were inundated with visitors who disregarded Government’s advice on social distancing measures to tackle the spreading virus in favour of fresh air.

 

Farmers took to social media to vent their annoyance at the ‘selfishness’ and ’irresponsibility’ they had witnessed, with some calling for the closure of footpaths to prevent further pressure on under-resourced medical facilities and others reporting increases in sheep worrying incidences.

 


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Responding to the situation, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual called for the public to socially distance and keep dogs under control to avoid ’disrupting’ farmers efforts to keep providing food supplies.

 

Rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, Rebecca Davidson, said: “Farm animals worth £1.2 million were savaged by dogs last year. The spring sunshine and social distancing is bringing people out to the countryside at a time when sheep and their new-born lambs are particularly vulnerable to attack.

 

“In farming areas experiencing very high influxes of walkers with dogs, farmers are having to spend additional time patrolling flocks to try and prevent attacks by dogs which is hindering them from getting on with the vital task of producing food for the nation.

 

“UK farmers are working under immense pressure at the moment to feed the nation through the Coronavirus outbreak and we are urging people to keep their dogs under control, to clear up their mess and to be responsible in the countryside.”

Farmers Guardian 'Take the Lead Campaign'

Farmers Guardian 'Take the Lead Campaign'

Farmers Guardian's Take the Lead campaign continues to raise awareness of sheep worrying incidences caused by dog attacks.

 

The campaign, launched in April 2014, has gained huge industry backing over its time, helping to raise awareness among the British public about livestock worrying and speaking up for our readers’ concerns.

 

More than 60,000 free signs have been sent out, spurring awareness not seen before in regards to livestock worrying.

 

Farmers Guardian have 1,000s of Take the Lead gatepost signs to give away.

 

Please send a self-addressed A4 envelope to:

 

Farmers Guardian Take the Lead

Unit 4 Fulwood Business Park

Caxton Road

Fulwood

PR2 9NZ

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