Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the progress of new legislation being taken forward at Holyrood that aims to tackle increasing instances of attacks on livestock.
The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, which intends to strengthen powers for the investigation and enforcement of the offence of ‘livestock worrying’, was debated at stage one by MSPs today (Thursday). While the vote was delayed for technical reasons, it is clear that the Bill commands unanimous support across the Chamber.
Commenting on the passage of the Bill to Stage Two, Mr McArthur said:
“Livestock worrying has been a serious problem for farmers and crofters across the Highlands and Islands over the years, including here in Orkney. Indeed, in its most recent survey a couple of years ago, NFU Scotland highlighted that 72% of their members had experienced livestock worrying.
“These attacks can result in injuries and wider, long term impacts on the health of livestock. In the most serious cases, it can even lead to the horrific killing of livestock or animals having to be euthanised. For farmers and crofters, this can add stress and risks of financial losses.
“Unfortunately, current legislation is outdated when it comes to offering suitable protection for livestock and there is certainly a need for stricter penalties to act as an effective deterrent to irresponsible dog owners.
“I’m therefore pleased that there is cross party agreement on the general principles of this Bill and it has proceeded to stage two for further debate. While amendments to the Bill will be required at stage two in some areas to make it fit for purpose, this is a welcome step forward to providing greater clarity in the law and hopefully a reduction in these instances taking place.”