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Farm groups urge countryside walkers to ‘respect’ rural communities amid pandemic

Farm groups across the board have appealed for countryside visitors to walk responsibly over the Easter weekend to avoid endangering rural communities.

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Farm groups urge countryside walkers to ‘respect’ rural communities amid pandemic

It follows reports from farmers across the country who have witnessed the public extensively walking across farmland, leaving gates open and letting their dogs roam unaccompanied without a lead.

 

Warning of the risks associated with this rise in walkers to the farming community, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) president Glyn Roberts has called on members of the public to follow the Government’s lockdown measures more closely.

 

He said: “Despite clear guidance we are still receiving calls from members that the public are ignoring the lockdown rules and letting their dogs run free on land with livestock on.”


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Taking to Twitter, Welsh dairy farmer Abi Reader reported the surge in walkers had led to an increase in the number of livestock worrying incidents she had witnessed, urging people to place dogs on a lead.

 

 

With dog attacks on livestock costing the industry £1.2 million in 2019, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Rebecca Davidson claimed placing dogs on a lead would allow farmers to get on with the ‘vital’ task of producing food for the nation.

 

Prevention

 

Mr Roberts added responsible walking was also paramount to preventing the spread of the disease, he said: “What the public must remember is that when they use public paths crossing farmland, they are walking through someone’s home.

 

“Many of our farmers fall into the vulnerable category and will be self-isolating while also tending their livestock, if they fall ill, there will be nobody to care for their animals and produce the food we all need.”

 

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker echoed this plea, saying: “By travelling to farms you are risking passing on this dangerous virus to a food producing farmer and this is simply not acceptable. ;

 

Mr Stocker called for the British public to obey these rules and respect people’s ‘homes and lives’ especially over the Easter weekend.

 

Stay at Home

 

Arable farmer Olly Harrison, took to using humour to deter walkers from undertaking non-essential travel by driving to countryside locations, marking his spreader with the words: ’If you can read this go home. Protect the NHS, save lives.’ (see main image).

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.

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