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Dog walkers warned of ‘devastating’ impact of livestock worrying

Sheep and lambThe campaign coincides with lambing season when sheep are at greatest risk of attack

Police Scotland has launched a campaign to raise awareness among dog owners of the “devastating” effects of livestock worrying.

The three-month campaign coincides with the spring lambing period when sheep are at greatest risk from dog attacks.

Last month, a farmer shot two dogs that escaped from a yard in Clackmannanshire and attacked his sheep, which were later destroyed.

The campaign aims to ensure that owners keep their dogs under close control.

Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, which includes Police Scotland, the National Farmers Union of Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates, are behind the campaign.

‘Significant damage’

Insp Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland rural crime co-ordinator, said: “Livestock worrying can occur when a dog attacks, chases or, in the case of sheep, is at large in a field where livestock is kept.

“The devastating effects of a dog attack are evident and cannot be overstated but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field.

“Pregnant ewes can abort their lambs or lambs can be separated from their mothers, causing distress and in some cases malnutrition.”

Insp Donaldson said the campaign would encourage farmers and landowners to put up signs on gateways and paths alerting dog walkers to the presence of sheep in their fields.

She said: “The advice to anyone walking and exercising their dogs in the countryside is to ensure that they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing.

“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code says that dogs shouldn’t be taken into fields where there are lambs or other young farm animals.”

‘Natural instinct’

Theresa Kewell, from Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “We may not think our family pet is capable of causing injury.

“But it is a dog’s natural instinct to chase, so think ahead when you’re out for your walk, about what might tempt your dog to run off, and ensure you keep them under proper control”.

Six sheep were badly injured in the dog attack near Kennet village in Clackmannanshire last month.

A Forth Valley Police spokesperson said the farmer was legally allowed to shoot the dogs in order to stop them attacking his livestock.

A 54-year-old man was reported to the procurator fiscal following the incident.

Article taken from:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-35695843

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Thirsk slaughterhouse ‘attacks’ probed by FSA

One man has been sacked and three others at a North Yorkshire slaughterhouse have had their operating licences suspended after hidden cameras filmed alleged mistreatment of animals.

Footage captured by Animal Aid apparently shows sheep being kicked and punched at Bowood Lamb in Thirsk.

sheep

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun an investigation.

It said there was “no excuse” for how the animals were treated, and said prosecutions could follow.

The slaughterhouse is licensed to kill animals under the halal code, which states that animals are supposed to be killed quickly with a single sweep of a surgically-sharp knife. They should not see the knife before they are slaughtered, or witness the death of other animals.

The law requires abattoirs to stun animals before slaughter to prevent unnecessary suffering, but there are exemptions for Jewish and Muslim producers.

The BBC’s Dan Johnson says the images are likely to reopen the debate about slaughter practices

Animal rights group Animal Aid recorded the footage with hidden cameras.

An FSA spokesman confirmed that four slaughtermen had had their licences suspended, meaning they cannot operate as slaughtermen or work with live animals.

The footage apparently shows:

  • A worker hacking and sawing at animals’ throats, in contravention of Islamic practice
  • Sheep being kicked, lifted by their ears and hurled into solid structures
  • A worker jumping up and down on a sheep
  • The animals being frightened by waving knives, smacking and shouting
  • A worker holding his fist as if to punch the sheep he is holding

More than 4,000 sheep were filmed being killed at Bowood over a three-day period in December.

Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid, said that “vicious attacks on defenceless, frightened animals are inexcusable”.

Government-appointed vets are supposed to be on hand in all abattoirs the size of Bowood, but Animal Aid said none was seen during the three days of filming.

Animal welfare

The animal rights group, which is the largest in the UK, is now calling for independently-monitored CCTV cameras to be compulsory at slaughterhouses. MPs were due to debate the issue in the House of Commons later.

Animal Aid, which was formed in 1977, has been involved in a number of campaigns including condemning the culling of deer at Sellafield andcriticising the condition of Guernsey horse racing course.

The FSA, which provides operating licences and carries out inspections for slaughterhouses in the UK, said it took animal welfare at abattoirs “very seriously, which is why we immediately suspended the licences of the slaughtermen involved”.

“There is no excuse for treating animals in the way shown on the video and we are therefore investigating the footage with a view to prosecution.

“We are also continuing to investigate all the circumstances around the incident to ensure proper safeguards are introduced to stop this happening in the future.

“When the FSA has finished investigating it will need to consider if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of animal welfare legislation to justify a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service, which would decide whether to prosecute or not.”

Jamie Foster, a solicitor speaking on behalf of Bowood Lamb, said the incidents were “hugely regrettable”.

He said that a picture of a slaughterman standing on the neck of a sheep “fell far below the standards that Bowood would find acceptable, and that individual was immediately dismissed for gross negligence”.

“But it isn’t right that this is routine because Bowood is a company that takes animal welfare extremely seriously,” said Mr Foster.

The FSA said Bowood Lamb was still operating.

Article taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-31094229

Related posts: https://catdraggedin.co.uk/2014/07/25/take-action-make-cctv-mandatory-for-all-slaughterhouses/