Immediate measures needed to curb sheep worrying, insists MSP

Peter Chapman spoke out against Scottish Government inaction
Peter Chapman spoke out against Scottish Government inaction

The SNP must act now to stem Scotland’s rising tide of sheep worrying incidents, according to a North East MSP.

Peter Chapman spoke out against Scottish Government inaction, following the latest in a long line of incidents which have occurred across the country due to irresponsible owners not keeping control of their dogs.

An Angus farmer suffered a significant loss to his flock of pedigree Beltex ewe lambs following a dog attack which left seven injured and one dead.

Despite Emma Harper MSP’s promise of a private members’ Bill to tackle such crime in June, nothing has been brought forward to the Scottish Parliament.

And Scottish Conservative Mr Chapman believes existing legislation could be strengthened while farmers are “waiting patiently” for the Bill to appear.

Several months ago, the North East region MSP spoke in support of the “Take a Lead” campaign which called for legislative changes, but has become frustrated by the lack of action by the SNP government.

Mr Chapman said: “I urged the Scottish Government to take action on this subject in May.

“The Take a Lead petition with 4,000 signatures was handed to them in June. "The farmers who signed that are waiting patiently for action.

“But Emma Harper has still not lodged a proposal for her Private Member's Bill to tackle this. Reckless dog owners should be punished. That may not require a whole Bill, rather strengthening of existing powers.

“In the meantime, more sheep are being killed, livelihoods ruined and reckless dog owners are walking away without punishment.”

In May, NFU Scotland wrote to the Scottish Government with five key asks designed to tackle the ongoing blight of livestock worrying.

In October, the Auchterhouse attack left seven of the lambs requiring antibiotics, three needing stitches and one has been given a poor prognosis from the vet.

One of the lamb’s injuries were so bad that it had to be put down. The lambs were the result of embryo transfer and were the last in that genetic line which means this is a significant loss for the farmer.