NSA welcomes move towards greater protection against livestock worrying in Scotland
31st March 2021
NSA Scottish Region is pleased to congratulate Emma Harper MSP on her members bill passed by Scottish Parliament last week, securing greater protection for farmers affected by livestock worrying.
This Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) bill modernises and strengthens legislation regarding attacks on livestock. It increases the penalties for livestock worrying to a fine of £40,000, 12 months’ imprisonment (or both) and also extends the definition of livestock to include modern types of farmed animals, such as alpacas, llamas and buffalo.
NSA Scottish Region Chair, Jen Craig comments: “We thank Emma for all of her hard work over the past four years to date. We are delighted that Scottish Parliament has passed her members bill after significant industry collaboration and cross-party support. This goes some way to updating the 67 year old legislation to ensure the protection of our valued livestock which we strive daily to provide the best environment and care for.
“Emma has been keenly involved with matters raised by NSA Scottish Region and through her determination, we now have the legislative backing which is fit for purpose. Additionally, we would like to extend our gratitude to all individuals and organisations who responded to the consultation and gave evidence to ensure a change could be made.”
NSA Scottish Region Coordinator Grace Reid comments: “This issue has been ongoing for many years and it is certainly a step in the right direction to form part of the resolution. However, a change is needed in both the attitude of dog owners and legislation. There are many parties involved in a case of sheep worrying by dogs and we wish to ensure that all affected are appropriately educated in the procedures which should follow. We also need to ensure that every case is reported to the Police whether it simply be chasing or causing distress to fatalities and injury.
“Despite these occurrences being very controllable in terms of responsible dog ownership we are continuing to see a rise in occurrences. Now is the time to ensure that a change is made. If anything, the national lockdowns have seen a surge in public numbers to the countryside – let's ensure that a repeat of 2020 is not seen in 2021 in terms of incidents.”
More information and guidance, including advice for farmers in the event of a sheep worrying incident, can be found on the NSA website. In addition, advice is available for dog owners on how to walk responsibly near livestock whilst enjoying the British countryside.