CEREDIGION MP Ben Lake has welcomed a bill which aims to strengthen law to prevent livestock attacks.

On Wednesday, 24 April, the Dogs (Protection of Livestock)(Amendment) Bill took an important step closer to becoming law, as it successfully passed the Committee stage in the House of Commons.

A committee of MPs discussed the Bill, which if enacted will strengthen the law in relation to dog attacks on livestock. The Bill, brought forward by Therese Coffey MP after similar provisions were dropped by the Government last year, makes changes to what constitutes an offence of livestock worrying and attacks, in addition to increasing the powers the police have to investigate attacks.

There have been several calls in recent years for greater awareness and protection for livestock, with NFU Mutual saying an estimated £883,000 worth of livestock in Wales was severely injured or killed by dogs in 2023

The Bill attempts to strengthen the existing law which dates from 1953 to prevent the instances of dog attacks on livestock by ensuring police have the powers to collect the necessary DNA and other forensic evidence to ensure investigations into such attacks are more effective, and convictions more likely. It also allows the police to intervene to prevent repeat attacks from dogs in the care of irresponsible owners.

Ben Lake MP served as one of the members of the Bill Committee.

During the debate, Ben Lake MP said: “In recent years, I have had to speak to too many farmers who have been victims of dog attacks on their livestock. Suffice it to say, such attacks are devastating, not only for the animals concerned but for the families and the farmers. Many have told me that they dread looking out the window in the evening to see their livestock hurrying about in fear of a repeat attack. It is very important that this Bill has reached this stage, and I congratulate the right hon. Lady on stewarding it this far.”

The Bill will now proceed to its final stages on Friday 17 May, when any final amendments can be made.

Following the Debate, Mr Lake said: “I have been raising the terrible impact of dog attacks since being elected as MP for Ceredigion, and have worked with colleagues from all political parties since 2019 to try and secure improvements to the law.

"As such, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Bill Committee, and to see these welcome changes take a step closer to becoming law. The impact of livestock worrying and dog attacks, not only on animals but also on farming families should not be underestimated. Dog attacks in Ceredigion in recent years have tragically underlined the urgent need for the existing law to be strengthened to ensure successful convictions and that the police have greater powers to prevent repeat attacks.

"Although the Bill is far from perfect, it would make significant improvements to the law, and so I am pleased that it is now a step closer to the statute book."