Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart has today raised the issue of livestock worrying during the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment (RAINE) committee. The session sought to gather expert views on animal welfare and ideas for future policy.
Ms Wishart has previously raised the issue of irresponsible dog owners and livestock worrying which can have a significant impact on animal health, particularly during lambing season.
Ms Wishart was told the best means to ensure a well-trained dog was to place a lead on them in public, and oral training. Shock collars were flagged as unnecessary.
Ms Wishart was also told that penalties handed to irresponsible dog owners are not centrally collated and there is no national register. Those with bans on dog ownership or previous fines could therefore easily forgo their penalty.
After the session Ms Wishart said:
“There are many responsible dog owners out there but it only takes one irresponsible one to have a devastating impact on livestock. It is distressing for the animals, and distressing for crofters and farmers who have to deal with the aftermath.
“I was told today that there could be some practical steps that could be taken to target irresponsible owners, and I support education about the problem.
“I supported the members bill on the protection of livestock in the last parliamentary session but the concerns of a local crofter who told me he thought that the law had not gone far enough led me to ask for the experts’ views.
“I look forward to the opportunity in committee to look at what more can be done.”