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Government backs bill to update livestock worrying legislation
The bill will increase the number of species covered by livestock worrying legislation.
Alpacas and llamas to be added to the list of species covered by law.

The government has backed a Private Members’ Bill to amend the legislation around livestock worrying, meaning the bill is now likely to become law.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Thérèse Coffey, will give the police greater powers and expand the range of animals and locations covered by livestock worrying rules.

Under the amended legislation, the police will have more powers to collect evidence samples from livestock and dogs, including being authorised to enter and search premises. They will also be able to seize and detain dogs after serious incidents.

Alpacas and llamas will be added to the list of animals covered by the legislation. The bill will also expand the places where the law can be enforced to include roads and paths.

The changes will update the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, which defines livestock worrying as a dog attacking or chasing livestock or being at large in a field or enclosure containing sheep, and will apply to England and Wales. Since the act was created, the amount of livestock in England and Wales has doubled.

Measures to tackle livestock worrying had previously been part of the government’s own Kept Animals Bill, which was dropped by ministers last year despite widespread support from animal welfare and veterinary organisations.

Farming minister Mark Spencer 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.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."