I'm supporting a parliamentary Bill to better protect livestock from dog attacks.
I have been a champion of legislation to tighten up the laws on livestock worrying and is now backing the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill that has government support.
In 2021 I brought forward a bill to update the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, as it was outdated and no longer fit for purpose following discussions with island farmers, the NFU and the police.
That did not become law but I told parliament the government has kept its word and will support this bill which I have sponsored.
One of the first things I did as a new MP in 2020 was meet with local farmers Brian Bown, Celfyn Furlong and Peter Williams in the Tafarn Y Rhos in Rhostrehwfa, and they were concerned about livestock worrying.
To ensure that my farmers’ voices were heard in Westminster, I undertook a journey to act on their behalf. I visited farmers like Tecwyn Jones at his farm in Bodedern and Gareth Hughes at Cleifiog farm in Valley. Tecwyn lost seven pregnant ewes and three rams in an attack by an unknown dog or dogs, described by police as “brutal” and “horrendous.
For my Ynys Môn farmers, I am delighted that my name is on this important Bill as a sponsor, but credit should go to them for raising this important issue
My farmers made it clear to me that the legislation currently covering livestock worrying, the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, is outdated and no longer fit for purpose. This is hardly surprising given that it has barely been touched in over 70 years and has not kept pace with dog ownership, leisure trends, DNA technology or modern farming practice.
I'm delighted that DEFRA is now prioritising livestock worrying.
The Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Thérèse Coffey MP means the police will be given greater powers to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively - making it easier for them to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further attacks.
Since the original 1953 Act was brought in, the number of livestock in England and Wales has doubled with more people visiting the countryside.