NEW powers to tackle livestock worrying will offer much greater protection after incidents increased over the past year, the NFU has said.

The changes introduced in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill follows years of NFU campaigning on the issue and has the support of the public. Nearly 20,000 people recently signed an open letter to support changes to legislation. It gives more power to the police to tackle livestock worrying incidents and expands the scope of what is afforded protection.

NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “Dog attacks on livestock are horrific and can have a massive impact on farm businesses, both practically but also emotionally for a farming family. I’m pleased to see the government taking clear action to strengthen the law in this area.”

“This is something the NFU and its members have been working on for many years and it has the support of the public too; nearly 20,000 people have voiced their support to changes to legislation.

“However, we would like to see the government go further in this area and implement increased fines. This can act as an appropriate deterrent and would also reflect the financial loss to the farm business as a result of an attack.

“We would also like to see a clear rule that dogs should always be on a lead around livestock. We believe the current wording that a dog has to be under ‘close control’ around livestock causes confusion for dog owners, farmers and the police.”