The National Sheep Association (NSA) has urged all sheep farmers to complete its survey on sheep worrying by dogs to help support calls for legal and cultural changes.
Launched on Monday February 22, the survey aims to gather data, including information on sheep farmers experience and their thoughts on resolutions, and will feed into NSA’s 2021 Sheep Worrying by Dogs campaign, which is scheduled to run throughout the year to promote responsible dog ownership.
It comes as industry has witnessed a spate in dog attacks on livestock during the Covid-19 pandemic, with ‘devastating’ incidents of dogs chasing and attacking sheep hitting headlines on a weekly basis.
The latest data from NFU Mutual revealed the cost of dog attacks on farm animals rose to £1.3 million in 2020, an increase of more than 10 per cent.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said the association had worked for many years to try and highlight the serious issue of sheep worrying attacks by dogs.
“This has seen NSA involved in many discussions with rural police forces, animal welfare charities, the veterinary sector and of course Government as we have, alongside others, called for changes in legislation to protect sheep farmers and their stock,” Mr Stocker said.
“To facilitate this work NSA is appealing to all sheep farmers in the UK to supply the most up to date information and experiences they may have had with attacks on their flocks in this survey.”
Mr Stocker added the past year had seen an increased number of walkers, often accompanied by their pet dogs, passing through farmland.
“Although thankfully the majority are responsible there is a small number that still allow their dogs to run through fields of livestock under little or no control,” Mr Stocker said.
“The resulting effect can be devastating, from extremely distressed sheep to severe injury and sadly, far too often, death.”
There is also concern about the high proportion of cases where straying dogs are responsible.
Farmers can anonymously complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/sheepworrying2021 until Monday April 19, 2021.
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