SLE supports moves to protect farm animals from dog attacks

Press Release

Scotland needs a clear and consistent approach to tackling livestock worrying, including increased penalties, robust enforcement and more supportive education for dog owners, says Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the organisation which represents landowners and rural businesses.

In their written evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on the proposed Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, SLE highlighted the extreme financial and emotional stress livestock worrying incidents can cause for all involved, as well as the harrowing animal welfare issues.

Emma Steel, Policy Assistant at SLE, said:

“Livestock worrying is a traumatic issue for our members, it can have a massive impact on the animal owners and on the business and we believe that increased penalties and robust enforcement are vital to its prevention.

“We fully support increasing the penalties for livestock worrying, as proposed in this Bill. The current range of penalties do not reflect the seriousness of this type of incident, and we believe the maximum penalty of £5000 suggested in this Bill should in fact be raised higher for the most serious cases, to reflect the gravity of these crimes and to act as a stronger deterrent.

“A consistent approach to recording livestock worrying and attack incidents will be vital to providing a clear picture of the ongoing scale of the issue and will allow us to understand the effectiveness of these new measures. Police Scotland can play a vital role in addressing livestock worrying, and we would like to see appropriate resources and training to ensure a full investigation can be carried out into all reported incidents.

“While strengthening the legislation around penalties and enforcement is important, we also believe additional supportive measures could be introduced to help reduce incidents of livestock worrying and attacks. For example, we would like to see more education and awareness campaigns on the dangers posed by dogs around livestock, and more training provided for dog owners on how and when to control dogs around livestock.”


Read our written evidence to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee