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Our evening with the NFU

We’re so privileged to be able to access some of the most beautiful parts of the countryside in the #LakeDistrict and it’s even more enjoyable with our four legged friends!

What some #DogOwners fail to realise is that it is not only us who are enjoying the stunning views, open moorland, fells and helms, but its also a working environment for many farmers who keep sheep and cattle. The countryside isn’t just ours to enjoy, we must share it and be respectful and considerate to others.

Sarah Kitching, Group Secretary of Kendal’s NFU opened the evening with a warm welcome and introductions to other members sharing experiences and giving advice, which included myself, who covered dog behaviour, and what we should be doing as responsible dog owners. Richard Pedley, NFU uplands vice chair, and livestock farmer, who went into depth of the farming calendar, and personal experiences when he has lost livestock to irresponsible dog handling. And last, but no means least, Mary Crackles, Head Veterinary Surgeon at #Westmorland Vets in Kendal, who touched on diseases passed from dog poo onto live stock, and the damaging affects it has.

Richard started with a rather startling statistic that 15,000 sheep/lambs are unnecessarily killed each year due to dog related instances such as worrying and attacking. He went on to mention that many lambs, when worried will huddle together in a corner, potentially resulting in them suffocating one another.

I then went on to speak about how dogs can be unpredictable, and it’s not worth the risk of having our dogs off lead Around livestock. It won’t harm our dogs to have a day without free running, but our dogs are caught worrying live stock, it could be the last thing they do!

Following myself, Mary Crackles talked about how disease from poo is transferred through faeces which either gets eaten directly by the stock, or it gets cut and bailed into hay. The disease can then be passed on to the foetus being carried which may result in a still birth. Mary went on to mention that some diseases can ONLY affect the sheep/cattle if it has previously passes through the system of a dog.

A wonderful addition to the evening was when Stewart Lambert, owner and farmer of Kitridding Farm mentioned about closing gates. Now, we all know we should leave gates as we found them, and most of us just think ‘if it was open, leave it open, if it’s closed, leave it closed’. But Stewart made an excellent point about taking notice how HOW the gate is closed. Is it tied in a certain way, or wrapped and clipped shut? It’s important to take extra care as sheep can squeeze through a small gap, and gates need to be shut, securely to keep people and livestock safe.

We’d like to say a massive thanks to NFU Kendal, for joining us in educating the public on a subject that we feel so passionately about. As well as thanking #KitriddingFarmShopAndTearoom for hosting us and the marvellous pie and peas supper!! #LeadByExample

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