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NSA survey reveals impact of sheep worrying
Fifty-seven per cent of police forces said sheep worrying was their most common rural crime.
Survey finds 78 per cent of rural crime teams saw an increase in cases.

Research conducted by the National Sheep Association (NSA) has revealed that sheep worrying cases are continuing to rise, causing more animals to miscarry, become injured, or die.

The data has been released to mark Sheep Worrying Awareness Week, running from 25 March to 1 April, which raises awareness of the impact that dogs can have with sheep worrying.

A survey of police forces in the UK found that 78 per cent of rural crime teams had seen an increase in dog attacks on sheep in recent years. Fifty-seven per cent of police forces said sheep worrying was their most frequently reported rural crime.

Seventy-six per cent of rural crime forces said they responded to sheep worrying incidents at least once a month. Thirty-three per cent saying it was as often as once a week.

This was corroborated by a survey of farmers, who also said they had seen an increase in cases.

The majority of police forces surveyed said that dogs being exercised off-lead were a major contributor to incidents, as well as owners showing a lack of responsibility for the consequences of dog attacks.

NSA says that sheep worrying, where dogs chase sheep during dog walks, can do the farm animals serious harm. Sheep can be killed or seriously injured when attempting to escape a dog, and the stress can cause pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

Dog bites can cause death, or sheep to be put down at a later date. Where sheep survive, bites can still result in considerable veterinary bills and additional welfare issues.

However many of the police forces surveyed did claim to be confident in handling sheep worrying incidents, and encouraged farmers to report and engage with local rural crime teams.

Nicola Noble, NSA project manager, said: “Whilst the 2024 NSA survey has confirmed the concerning rise in sheep worrying by dogs cases there are clearly positive steps being made by rural crime teams to engage with dog owners in an effort to raise awareness and reduce these serious, upsetting attacks.

“By working with the police and by using warning signs for dog owners when livestock are grazing in certain fields, were recognised as the best method of deterrence and can hopefully help farmers reduce the number of attacks on their animals.”

Image © Shutterstock


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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

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News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.