Plaid Cymru MPs and AMs have joined forces to call for a meeting with UK agriculture minister Michael Gove about the rising problem of dog attacks against farm livestock.
In a letter, the party’s rural affairs spokespersons Llyr Gruffydd AM and Ben Lake MP request a meeting with the minister at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss the matter, which they say is a growing problem.
The letter states: “Recent figures from North Wales Police showed 89 per cent of dog attacks occurred when pets strayed from home, with 449 cases of livestock worrying recorded in the area between 2013 and 2017. Plaid Cymru has recently called for Wales to be given the powers to tackle dock attacks on livestock, particularly following the introduction of a Private Members Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament by SNP MSP Emma Harper. This Bill would increase the penalties dog owners found guilty of livestock worrying and give the police greater powers to investigate and enforce the offence. It is therefore imperative that the UK Government devolves the necessary powers for Wales to be able to legislate in the same way. ”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, recently met with Emma Harper in Edinburgh to discuss her bill but the Welsh Assembly does not currently have the powers to change legislation no this matter.
Mr Gruffydd said: “We want to see these powers devolved to Wales so we can take action in the Assembly. This is supported by the Farmers’ Union of Wales, which believes the four main pieces of legislation that currently cover livestock attacks are all antiquated and do not fit with current agricultural practices or the seriousness of the offence. A change in the legislation is necessary to ensure the seriousness of this offence is understood, and that Welsh police forces have the powers to properly deal with offenders. ”
Plaid Cymru’s Ceredigion MP Ben Lake added: “Farmers need better protection for their livestock and, if the UK Government cannot and will not take action, then we need the powers to be transferred to Wales to get on with the work ourselves. I very much hope that Mr Gove will give this matter urgent consideration and that we can meet in the Show to discuss this in detail.”