Rural crime is something that we hear about all too often from our members across Wales. It continues to wreak havoc on our rural communities and working farms and is a constant worry for our members, who predominantly live in isolated areas. Farmers and those living in rural areas can often feel forgotten when it comes to rural crime. For a lot of farmers, they feel like they're not being heard, which is incredibly frustrating.

We would urge all farmers to make their farm as unattractive to thieves as possible, through the use of CCTV cameras, signage and of course locking up equipment and machinery. NFU Cymru has member discounts on a range of security packages, visit the NFU Cymru website for more details or give your local group secretary a call.

Farmers look after 70% of the UK’s countryside and many public footpaths cross through their land. This means it is vital that we establish measures to ensure that livestock, members of the public and their dogs are all kept safe. We want people to enjoy the countryside and see where their food is produced, but owners must do this responsibly. Livestock worrying and dog attacks can lead to the serious injury or death of farm animals, as well as causing significant emotional and financial stress to the farmers who see their animals suffering.

We urge all dog owners to be responsible to keep dogs on a lead when walked anywhere near livestock, but let go in the unlikely event you are chased by cows.

Complacency among some dog owners, alongside an inability to control their pets, has seen dog attacks on Welsh livestock cost an estimated £883,000 last year, more than double the 2022 cost (£439,000).

The shocking statistics come as NFU Mutual’s latest survey of over 1,100 dog owners found more people were letting their dogs off leads in the countryside last year than in 2022, 68% and 64% respectively.

Almost 8% admitted their dog chases livestock but 46% believed their dog was not capable of causing the death or injury of farm animals. More than half (54%) felt they did not need to take active measures to prevent their dog from chasing.

We want people to enjoy the countryside, but we want it to be enjoyed responsibly. If you think you’ve witnessed a livestock worrying incident, please report it to the farmer and the police.