NFU Scotland has written to Scottish Government, asking it to support a proposed Private Members Bill by Emma Harper MSP to tackle the blight of livestock worrying.

In the letter, NFUS has mapped out five areas it believes merit inclusion in any new legislative framework or guidance. Those are:

* Livestock worrying becomes a recordable crime to allow for accurate measurement and monitoring of the issue and provide easy identification of repeat offenders.

* An update of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) is needed to provide clearer guidance on accessing the countryside with dogs. NFUS believes that guidance should state that all dogs (except for working dogs) must be on a lead around sheep. This will send a strong message to both those taking access to the countryside and those who allow their dogs to stray.

* Police Scotland should be provided with powers to issue Dog Control Notices. Currently, only local authority dog wardens have the power to issue Dog Control Notices, and as a result this mechanism is often unused. This will increase the use of this as a useful interim step.

* Police Scotland should have powers to obtain evidence, seize dogs and have dogs destroyed. These powers will assist in investigations and will prevent dogs from remaining in the custody of irresponsible owners - which experience has shown often results in a repeat offence.

* Fines levied on offenders must be proportionate and full compensation should be provided for. NFUS considers that sanctions should include powers to disqualify offenders from dog ownership. This will act as a deterrent to dog owners and will also ensure that farmers can redress any resulting cost to their livelihood.

NFUS President Andrew McCornick said: "The graphic images of dead and mauled sheep and lambs have highlighted the impact of irresponsible dog ownership on farmers' livelihoods and action is needed."

Mr McCornick added: "There is no such thing as an irresponsible dog, only irresponsible dog owners and this proposed Bill presents a genuine opportunity for Scottish Government to back change that will make a massive difference to livestock keepers across the country."

Market round-up

Lawrie & Symington Ltd had 519 store cattle forward in Lanark on Monday when heifers sold to a top of 281p per kg and an average of 219.1p (-0.9p on the fortnight), while bullocks peaked at 298p and levelled at 229.7p (-4.3p).

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 26 store heifers in Lockerbie on Tuesday to a top of 276.8p and an average of 232.5p (-9.5p), while 19 store bullocks peaked at 252.9p and levelled at 217.6p (-25.4p).