Thousands of children will hear about the dangers of allowing the family dog to run among livestock today as Farmers Guardian’s Take the Lead campaign teams up with the The Kids Country Food and Farming Day.
Organised by the East of England Agricultural Society and sponsored by the Central England Co-operative, the event aims to educate children about farming, the countryside and where their food comes from.
Earlier this year FG teamed up with Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) to develop a range of educational materials to help schools inform their pupils about livestock worrying and its impact on rural communities.
FG research has shown dog attacks on livestock have risen 93 per cent since 2011.
Sandra Lauridsen, Kids Country Education manager and organiser of the Food and Farming Day, said: “The Food and Farming Day educates children, and their families, so they know how farmers produce their food and the journey from field to plate.
“However, it also teaches them about the countryside as a whole and gives them an understanding and respect for it.
“We are keen to promote the excellent Take the Lead campaign, and how livestock worrying causes unnecessary anguish and suffering to animals and farmers alike.
“It is a problem that, unfortunately, is not going away and the number of dog attacks being reported nationally is very concerning.
“There are 7,000 children visiting the Food and Farming Day and we will be letting them know that it’s important to keep control of your dog around livestock, because the consequences can be extremely serious and distressing.”
This year’s event is set to be attended by schools from Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and London, and will feature 309 exhibitors from 85 companies offering various activities across 14 learning zones.
It is backed by Baroness Hazel Byford, a member of the House of Lords who served as opposition parliamentary spokesman for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs from 1997 to 2007.
She said: “The event gives children the opportunity to see how their food is produced – for many it will be the first opportunity to hear about the process food goes through and of the variety of skills involved along the way.
“The day will be fun, full of surprises, but will also encourage them to think about job opportunities. Whether they love animals and would like to work with them or look to the excitement of engineering and future technologies, or whether scientific experiments and research might appeal or the challenge of diversity within land-based businesses, there is clearly so much to offer.”