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Sheep worrying by dogs needs 'urgent action' to tackle crisis that spikes in spring

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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National Sheep Association highlights sheep worrying.
National Sheep Association highlights sheep worrying.

As the days get longer dog walkers begin to spend more recreational time walking through fields, often a spike in sheep attacks can be seen.

The spring months are also the peak season for lambing in the UK, meaning vulnerable stock is even more at risk from being chased by dogs and physical, often fatal attacks, a group is warning.

To tackle this, the National Sheep Association (NSA) will intensify its work to highlight the devastating issue of sheep worrying by dogs during its week long awareness campaign next month.

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Recurring years of increased reports of dog attacks on sheep, has shown the urgent need for action to tackle this crisis that threatens animal welfare, and farmers’ mental wellbeing and livelihoods.

This year NSA has sought feedback from police rural crime teams across the country on their experiences of sheep worrying cases with the aim of highlighting the need for strengthened policy on the issue and preventing attacks.

To begin the week of campaign activity, NSA is inviting agricultural writers to join NSA chief executive Phil Stocker as he shares the most up-to-date information as part of the 2024 survey on sheep worrying by dogs, launching the 2024 Sheep Worrying awareness week on March 25. Registrations are invited for the launch meeting by clicking here.

The campaign will include social media activity using the campaign hashtag #LeadOn, online case studies and content on the NSA website.

For more information on the issue of sheep worrying by dogs visit www.sheepworrying.org.uk.

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