§ 23. Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now introduce legislation to increase the maximum fine for marauding dogs.
§ Mr. John Mackie
The Criminal Justice Bill, which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will be introducing later in this Session, will contain a provision to double the maximum fine of £10 for a first offence of livestock worrying.
§ Mr. Irvine
Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the claim made at the annual general meeting of the National Farmers' Union that for every fox killed by a hunt 100 sheep are killed by dogs? Does he not also know that for this reason a good many traditional sheep areas no longer carry the number of sheep that they used to? Does he not think that this matter should receive urgent attention?
§ Mr. Mackie
I accept the plug for fox-hunting. On the question of whether we are taking this matter seriously, the answer is that we have, through my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, appealed to the police to take as strong action as they can. We all know that worrying by dogs is a big problem in this country, and we are taking it seriously. The doubling of the fine for a first offence is one of the steps to deal with it.