SAVED: PAGE: ACTIVE AREA:

Union Welcomes Member’s Bill on Livestock Worrying Moving to the Next Stage

NFU Scotland has welcomed tough, new measures to tackle livestock worrying being brought forward by Emma Harper MSP through a member’s bill in Scottish Parliament.

With cases of livestock being attacked by dogs continuing to be reported on a regular basis, the Livestock Worrying - Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill has now been published and will progress to stage one as soon as is practicable. The Bill:

  • increases the maximum penalty to a fine of £5,000 or imprisonment for six months;
  • allows the courts to ban a convicted person from owning a dog or allowing their dog to go on agricultural land;
  • gives the police greater powers to investigate and enforce livestock worrying offences. This includes by going onto land to identify a dog, seize it and collect evidence from it;
  • allows other organisations to be given similar powers;
  • extends the “livestock worrying” offence to cover additional types of farmed animal.

The Bill also widens the definition of ‘worrying’ to include chase, attack and kill to make the offence clear and to allow people to better understand the term. 

NFU Scotland President, Andrew McCornick said: “For too long, the actions of a small number of irresponsible dog owners who refuse to keep their pets on a lead when around livestock have been impacting on the livelihoods of Scottish farmers and crofters.

“Current penalty levels and associated legislation have not presented enough of a deterrent to prevent reckless dog owners from allowing their dogs to carry out livestock attacks.  To address that, we welcome the publication of the draft Bill and the measures that it proposes.  Because livestock worrying remains a considerable issue for our members, we view this Bill is a vital stepping stone in the fight to reduce this blight on the countryside.

“We also urge politicians to consider further strengthening of the proposals. Looking ahead, we want Scottish Government to introduce further powers to ensure that victims of livestock worrying can receive full compensation for their actual losses.  Given the impact that such attacks can have on livestock businesses, we think that full compensation is wholly appropriate.”  

Commenting on the Bill, Emma Harper MSP said: “I am pleased - after almost two years of rigorous consultation, stakeholder engagement and a drafting process - that I have now formally introduced my Bill to the Scottish Parliament where it will shortly proceed to the 3-stage legislative process before hopefully becoming law in Scotland.

“The Bill has clear principles. It aims to; increase the maximum penalty for the offence of chasing, attacking and killing livestock, it allows courts to ban a convicted person from owning a dog or from allowing their dog to go onto agricultural land and it gives Police greater powers to investigate and enforce the offence. Additionally, the Bill provides greater clarity to the legal bodies - such as the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service - on how to deal with the offence.

“As well as the legalities of the Bill, I want it to be the catalyst for educating the public about the importance of having their dog under control when near livestock and for people to understand the severity of livestock being chased, attacked and killed. The consequences of the offence can be both emotionally and financially detrimental to farmers and it is only right that the penalties of the crime reflect this.”

Notes to Editors

  • Further information on the Bill and supporting documents are available at: https://beta.parliament.scot/bills/dogs-protection-of-livestock-amendment-scotland-bill
  • In December 2018, NFU Scotland surveyed farmers, crofters and landowners about the issues they have with irresponsible access, either through livestock worrying by dogs, or the impacts of owners failing to pick up after their pets on or near farmland. The survey had more than 340 responses, which showed that 72 per cent of respondents had an issue with livestock worrying on their land.


Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 64/20


< Article List

Close

Report Abusive Comment

Comment Content:

Why it offends me (optional):



Have Your Say

No-one has commented on this article yet. Be the first to have your say...

New Comment

Share

Total Pages:
Total Results:
Page Start:
Page Result #:

©NFU Scotland • All Rights Reserved • Web design by Big Red DigitalLog in

Close

Contact Us

 

 

 

No Robots:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.