Farms feeding sheep in field

Theft and Sheep Worrying Advice

Posted on: 28th May 2020

H&H Insurance Brokers prompts farmers to review their livestock cover for theft and sheep worrying amidst amended bill passed in Scotland 

 As Scotland this week passes the revised Livestock Worrying – Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, our specialist insurance livestock team considers this increasing problem for farmers following their busy lambing and calving season.

The bill, set in motion prior to the Covid-19 lockdown to recognise the problem of dogs upsetting livestock, is more important than ever as the country relies so much more on the countryside for exercise and escape, thus increasing the risk of cases.

The amendment to the law in Scotland puts much more severe punishments in place for offenders, increasing the maximum penalty to a fine of £5,000 or imprisonment for six months, allowing the courts to ban a convicted person from owning a dog or allowing their dog to go on agricultural land and giving the police greater powers to investigate and enforce livestock worrying offences.

However, this recognition of the offense and increased punishments, does not stop it happening and H&H Insurance Brokers recommends that extra cover is put in place regardless, in case the worst happens as sheep attacks are devastating for farmers both financially and emotionally.

It is therefore vitally important that farmers make sure that they are appropriately insured for the right numbers of sheep and cattle, including the additional offspring, as Gemma Rawlinson, Scottish Borders & North Area Manager for H&H Insurance Brokers explains:

“Farming is fraught with perils, which need covering on a day-to-day basis, but at this time of year, it is crucial that farmers are covered for additional implications brought on by lambing and calving.  In addition to the normal business interruption insurance, which would cover the loss of income for a period of 12-36 months, the loss of livestock on a large scale can result in serious financial implications.

“As farmers conclude a very busy time of year with lambing and calving drawing to a close, never has it been more important than now to review your insurance cover.”

Livestock are often the most valuable asset on a farm and the financial implications of a large scale loss at this time of year, especially amidst the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, could have a massive impact on a farmer’s income for the coming year and even beyond.

To put some perspective on the problem, Sheepwatch UK, a community watch group for livestock owners, reports that around 15,000 sheep are killed a year by pet dogs.  When dogs are left loose, a dog will inevitably exercise its natural instinct on seeing a sheep to give chase, when the undefended animal inevitably runs away. Although farmers have the right to shoot any dog disturbing their livestock, this is not an outcome anyone wants.

Gemma goes on to say: “As specialist farm insurers, we are here to offer advice on what poses a risk at this very busy time of year.  Sheep are valuable assets and whilst it is possible to take some simple steps to safeguard livestock, it is worth reviewing your insurance to ensure you have the right cover above the basic level to include theft and worrying insurance.”

Recently awarded the FEEFO Platinum Trusted Service Award 2020, our company is one of the foremost independent brokers in the country.  Agricultural businesses need to ensure that they are adequately insured both from a business protection and legislative perspective and we offer a broad portfolio of policies across a range of specialisms, with clients ranging in size from small start-ups to large businesses.

For more information about the protection of your livestock or advice on the right insurance cover for you, please email us with your enquiry.

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