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Government backs bill to clamp down on livestock worrying

Tougher powers to tackle livestock worrying have taken a significant step forward with the announcement of government backing for new legislation.

Livestock worrying can result in significant injury and suffering and, in the worst cases, the death of the animals involved. These incidents are also distressing for livestock keepers and can have significant financial costs.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill – a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Thérèse Coffey – the police will be given greater powers to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively. The legislation will make it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further attacks.

It will also extend the definition of livestock to include alpacas and llamas and widening locations where enforcement can be taken to roads and paths.

Since the original 1953 Act was brought in, the number of livestock in England and Wales has doubled with more people visiting the countryside.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “This Bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”

Dr Thérèse Coffey MP said: “We have heard from the police that they need more up to date powers to help them identify the dogs that are attacking and worrying livestock, and subsequently their owners.”

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