As part of its ongoing work to highlight the ‘serious and distressing’ issue of sheep worrying by dogs, the National Sheep Association (NSA) has launched its annual survey on the topic to gain an up to date insight on its continued severity and impact on the UK sheep industry.

For the past 10 years, NSA has gathered data from UK sheep farmers on the major problem of sheep worrying. Sheep worrying occurs when dogs chase and/or physically attack sheep, causing significant stress to sheep and subsequent devastating problems that can include miscarriage of lambs, physical injury and in many cases, death of the animals affected.

To continue to raise awareness of these incidents and find ways of improving education, guidance and cooperation, NSA is inviting UK sheep farmers to contribute to the survey that will remain open until Wednesday 15th March 2023. The survey can be completed on the NSA website by visiting

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker commented: “Sheep farmers across the UK nations are regularly faced with the dreadful consequences of sheep worrying by dogs. Attacks not only compromise animal welfare but also cause great stress, anxiety and financial loss to farmers themselves.

“NSA urges anyone previously affected by this issue to complete this year’s survey. Your contribution helps to create a more accurate representation on the intensity of the issue, critical for NSA when working towards increased understanding of the problem, whether that be from the UK’s dog loving public or the UK Government that decides what legislation regulates the act and punishes those found guilty of allowing attacks to happen.”

NSA launches its annual sheep worrying campaign, including releasing results of the survey each winter/spring. The timing is significant as this is an especially important time for UK sheep flocks when many ewes are in the final stages of pregnancy or have young, vulnerable lambs at foot meaning the risk of miscarriage or mis mothering due to stress from a sheep worrying attack is increased.

For more information on the issue of sheep worrying by dogs and NSA’s work on this issue please visit

More news like this can be found in The Country Smallholder magazine. Subscribe here.