Sheep Worrying Strikes Again

CSM EDITORIAL

The problem of dogs attacking lambs during lambing season has once again cropped up and it is time something was finally done about it in the UK.

Farmer’s Weekly was absolutely correct to publish graphic images of a recent attack on the lambs of James Edwards, who runs 4,500 ewes across a number of farms in north Hampshire. In solidarity, we have done the same below.

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Mr Edwards lost more than 20 lambs in the attack on Sunday the 14th of May. Mr Edwards, who farms with his partner Jess Faulkner, said he had spent much of Sunday afternoon picking up dead and mutilated lambs. The Farmer’s Weekly piece can be accessed here.

The galling aspect of the attack on Mr Edwards’ lambs was how many signs were left by his farmers for members of the public to view; warning them that unleashed dogs should be kept on leads at all times.

Mr Edwards calls for footpaths to be closed during the lambing season and he is absolutely right. He told Farmer’s Weekly: “I think the only thing to stop it would be for footpaths to be closed during the lambing season. We should be allowed to shut down public access to footpaths while I am lambing sheep for six to eight weeks a year. We lamb mostly between March and May – exactly the time of year when people start to go out and walk their dogs in the countryside. In the last few months, I have picked up a dead ewe that had been backed into a kissing gate and had its throat ripped out. When I got there it was still bleeding. Another ewe was running around with its jaw ripped off. All of these fields had signs on them.”

If, as sheep worrying stats show, there continues to be a rise in lamb deaths during the lambing season, farmers will be forced to close off footpaths themselves if there is no official intervention. This will put them foul of the law. It’s a scenario that needs looking at as a matter of priority by Government, so this tragedy stops before next lambing season begins.

Meanwhile, really how difficult is it for dog owners to keep their dogs on leads when crossing farm land? By doing so they are preventing a wholly unnecessary crime.

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