Livestock: Dogs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 25th May 2022.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of alternatives to e-collars for dogs on reducing the instances of dogs attacking livestock.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government takes the issue of livestock worrying very seriously, recognising the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications. New measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales are to be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 8 June 2021. The new measures will enhance enforcement mechanisms available to the police and expand the scope of livestock species and locations covered by the law.

Meanwhile we maintain that it is best practice to keep your dog on a lead around livestock. Natural England recently published a refreshed version of the Countryside Code, which highlights that it is best practice to keep dogs on a lead around livestock. The Code also makes specific reference to keeping dogs in sight and under control to make sure they stay away from livestock, wildlife, horses and other people unless invited. Moreover, the Code helpfully sets out certain legal requirements, encouraging visitors to always check local signs as there are locations where you must keep your dog on a lead around livestock for all or part of the year.

Following a consultation in 2018, and as set out in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, the Government decided to ban electric shock collars controlled by hand-held devices in England under new legislation which should be introduced this year, given their scope to harm cats and dogs.

The proposed ban on the use of these electric shock collars was developed after considering a broad range of factors, including the impact of a ban. When considered alongside the academic research, the public consultation responses, and direct engagement with the sector, the Government concluded that these electric shock collars present an unacceptable risk to the welfare of dogs and cats and that their use should not be permitted.

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