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Government backs bill to clamp down on livestock worrying

Tougher powers to tackle livestock worrying will be introduced following a successful campaign by an MP.

The Government has supported MP Dr Thérèse Coffey’s Private Members’ Bill to introduce tougher powers to tackle livestock worrying Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill.

The bill which was sponsored by 10 Conservative MPs including Alicia Kearns will give the police greater powers to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively.

It aims to make it easier for officers to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further attacks.

Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, said: “I have campaigned relentlessly for the urgent introduction of a livestock worrying law to put an end to the devastating financial and emotional damage it causes for our farmers.

“I have supported this bill from the outset, and I am relieved that the Government has recognised the need for tougher powers to crackdown on this distressing offence.”

The bill would modernise existing legislation to ensure it remains fit for purpose, including extending the livestock definition to include alpacas and llamas.

The Government’s backing of the bill builds on a pledge made in its Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Mark Spencer, farming minister, said: “Livestock worrying has a devastating impact, causing distress to farmers and their animals, as well as the financial implications.

“This bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”

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