NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, is backing a farming union’s bid to raise awareness of dog attacks on livestock.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales will be handing out free gate-post warning signs at the Royal Welsh Show this week.
The signs are part of the FUW’s campaign “Your Dog, Your Responsibility,” which aims, not only to highlight the devastation caused by dog attacks on livestock, but also the serious diseases that can be spread from dogs to cattle when owners do not clean up after their dog.
Mr Hamilton said: “I fully support any moves to raise awareness of the increasing problem of attacks on livestock and welcome this latest initiative.
“Attacks in the countryside remain a major concern for farmers across Wales and we need to do everything we can to highlight the problem.
“Earlier this year I backed the FUW’s campaign calling for tighter legislation to give farmers more protection, as the financial and emotional impact of livestock worrying is something they can clearly do without.”
“The police need to be given more powers to deal with offenders. Dog owners, whose animals attack livestock, should be made accountable and realise the seriousness of the offence and farmers should also be compensated for the distress and injuries to their sheep.”
“I would urge farmers to take advantage of the free-gate post signs which will, I hope, make owners take more responsibility for their animals and make sure their pets are kept on leads near livestock.”
FUW Senior Policy Officer Dr Hazel Wright said: “Our farmers are repeatedly faced with a field of dead or dying stock following a dog attack and many of them have now reached a financial and emotional breaking point.”
“The impact of a dog attack on a farming family can be devastating. Alongside causing horrific injuries, one dog attack can cost thousands of pounds in lost stock, veterinary bills and reduced growth rates.”
“In today’s market-place with ever tighter margins, these additional costs have serious financial implications for the future solvency of the farm business.”
Despite numerous industry campaigns aimed at educating dog walkers, there were 449 cases of livestock attacks between 2013 and 2017 in North Wales alone. As large as this number is, it is likely to be an underestimate as we know that farmers often don’t report such attacks.
Dr Wright added, “We have therefore launched our farm-gate warning signs to provide members with a practical way to remind those walking dogs near livestock about their responsibilities and about the potential dangers.”
FUW members can pick up signs directly from any of the FUW’s 11 county offices across Wales, as well as from the FUW pavilion at the Royal Welsh Show.