NFUS Backs Public Consultation to Tackle Attacks on Livestock

Following extensive work to provide protection to farmers and crofters who have suffered attacks on livestock by dogs, NFU Scotland has backed the launch of a public consultation on this issue.

At the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 21 February, Emma Harper MSP launched a public consultation ahead of a proposed Members Bill to tackle incidents of dogs attacking livestock, the detail of which NFU Scotland has played an integral role in.
The proposed bill aims to give police, courts and potentially other agencies more powers to properly tackle offences of dogs attacking livestock.

Livestock attacks continue to be a blight on Scottish agriculture, and NFU Scotland launched a campaign earlier in February to influence a change in behaviours of irresponsible dog owners and encourage them to keep their dogs on a lead when walking on farmland.

Last year Police Scotland had 338 incidents of attacks on livestock by dogs reported to them. Out of 340 responses from a recent NFU Scotland survey, 72 per cent said they had an issue with livestock worrying on their land whilst 84 per cent of responses felt the outdoor access code requiring ‘on a lead or under close control’ didn’t provide sufficient protection to them or their livestock.

Martin Kennedy, Vice President of NFU Scotland commented: “This public consultation is welcomed by NFU Scotland. It is a useful platform on which to build towards more proportionate sanctions for those irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to worry livestock.

“Last year the Union outlined ‘key asks’ that it would like to see within a bill – in particular higher fines, a ban on owning dogs and additional powers for the police – so we are delighted that some of these asks are included within the proposed bill from Emma Harper MSP.

“Irresponsible dog owners need to realise the impact they are having on farmers and crofters and their livestock. It is not necessarily about the financial losses they face, but the trauma for livestock and their offspring, as well as the emotional impact on the farmer and their family.

“We would encourage as many farmers and crofters as possible to fill out this consultation within the 12-week window to provide a true reflection of the extent dog attacks on livestock continue to have on our industry.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s Control Your Dog on Farmland campaign launched on February 7 and has four key messages:
    • Be informed – know your responsibilities under the Code
    • Plan ahead – know your route, ensure you have poo bags and a lead
    • Control your pet - keep dogs on a lead around livestock.
    • Don’t leave it hanging - picking up your dog’s poo is not enough, take it with you and put it in a bin, even if on the fringes of farmland.
  • Photographs from the consultation launch are available by emailing after 12pm on Thursday 21 February
  • Images of campaign material are also available by emailing
  • If using social media to publicise the consultation or the campaign, please use the hashtag #ControlYourDog


Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108

Author: Ruth McClean

Date Published:

News Article No.: 22/19

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About The Author

Ruth McClean

Having worked in the communications and journalism industry for the last 11 years, NFU Scotland’s Communications Manager Ruth McClean understands the needs of journalists and has extensive knowledge of the wider agricultural industry. After growing up in Argyll and Bute and working in the area as a reporter for local newspapers for eight years, Ruth joined NFU Scotland in 2013 in her current role. She is also Editor of the Union’s membership magazine the Scottish Farming Leader.

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