Farmer and NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe has told MPs and peers that livestock worrying is a major concern for the industry.
Speaking at the APPG Animal Welfare meeting at the House of Lords, Mr Sercombe outlined how irresponsible dog ownership could have a devastating effect on farmers; livestock, businesses and families.
After the meeting, Mr Sercombe said: “We were pleased to be representing farmers’ views at the APPG meeting.
“Livestock worrying is a major concern for our members, from the suffering that is caused to their animals, the stress and upset for the families and the high costs associated with it.
“As part of our Love Your Countryside campaign, we have been working with various organisations such as the Kennel Club and Natural England to provide guidance to the wider community about the need to keep dogs under control.”
Mr Sercombe added that the NFU and its members would welcome the new initiative set out by North Yorkshire Police – aimed at closing legal loopholes against dog attacks.
“We are fully behind the initiative launched by North Yorkshire police and hope it can identify areas where the law is insufficient and ultimately make sure the police have the tools to address livestock worrying; and to introduce penalties that deter irresponsible dog ownership,” he said.
Mr Sercombe added that he believed there was a big issue with under-reporting of the problem and urged farmers to report incidents to police – and for police, in turn, to take them seriously.
The NFU and the Kennel Club has produced signs for farmers and walkers to help promote responsible dog walking in the countryside.
The meeting took place yesterday.