Livestock worrying cost NI £290,000

Tuesday, 26 February, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says livestock worrying remains a huge concern as rural insurer NFU Mutual reports that in the last four years, livestock attacks cost Northern Ireland nearly £290,000.

With incidents rising, UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said it is vital the issue of livestock worrying is tackled more aggressively. “It is a harrowing sight to see ewes and lambs that have been seriously injured or killed by dogs and no farmer should have to go through this,” he said. 

In Northern Ireland, there is little legislation to protect farmers and their livestock. “Back in October we called on local politicians to back livestock worrying proposals, recommended by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). However, in the absence of an Executive this has made it more challenging to progress,” said Mr Chestnutt. Despite the lack of government, the UFU has managed, through the Rural Crime Partnership and facilitated by the Department of Justice, to set up a Northern Ireland Livestock Worrying Stakeholder Forum. “Collectively, we want to reduce the number of livestock worrying incidences from happening. We also want to highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership in the countryside, with many allowing their pet to roam the freely,” he said.

The UFU says farmers must treat livestock worrying as they would an incident of rural crime. “Report it to the PSNI and your local dog warden for investigation. Despite a record number of reported incidences, we suspect livestock worrying is actually underreported. One of the things we can do is report every incident to help push it up the agenda here in Northern Ireland,” said the UFU deputy president.