A national campaign to highlight the rise in sheep worrying by dogs and its devastating impact on the farming industry will run for two weeks in May.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) initiative will be launched next week following a survey of farmers which NSA says has broken all previous survey records for the number of respondents sharing their experiences of attacks on flocks.
Instead of the usual week-long campaign the action is being extended over a longer period.
The organisation said: “With cases increasing at an alarming rate (we) will run a series of online activity over an extended period of two weeks this year in an effort to have a greater impact on the important messaging of responsible dog ownership needed to protect sheep flocks.”
The #LeadOn campaign will include social media activity, webinars, workshops and new online case studies and content on the NSA’s website to help both sheep farmers in reducing the risk of attacks happening on farm and the general public in preventing their dogs from being involved in sheep worrying attacks.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “Sheep farmers across the UK have suffered an increase in sheep worrying attacks by dogs over the past year, as dog ownership has increased and walking in the countryside has become one of the few activities to be enjoyed during lockdown – but dog owners must be responsible for their pet.
“NSA is committed to ensuring the general public develops a better understanding of the stress and suffering that any dog, no matter its breed, can cause to sheep by barking, chasing and attacking them. It is a serious animal welfare issue that puts both sheep and much loved pets at risk”
Sheep farmers are being urged to spread the word by including the #LeadOn hashtag in their social media posts, attend webinars and workshops throughout the campaign, and have “positive conversations” to encourage responsible dog ownership.
General information on the topic of sheep worrying by dogs can also be found at www.sheepworrying.org.uk. In addition, NSA has also produced a range of graphics for farmers and other supporters to display and share demonstrating support for the NSA campaign. To receive a copy of these graphics email firstname.lastname@example.org