Livestock theft has become a serious problem for farmers in the UK in recent years. "It has become more and more," said Rebecca Davidson of the NFU Mutual agricultural insurance company of the German Press Agency in London. “Ten years ago, more than ten sheep were seldom stolen at a time. Now we get regular reports that 50 to 100 animals are affected. "
In 2020, farmers across the country claimed £ 2,3 million in damage. This is a marked minus compared to the previous year, when animals worth three million pounds were stolen. But that is solely due to the fact that crime generally fell during the corona lockdown with far-reaching exit restrictions, said Davidson.
"It is particularly disastrous for smaller farmers," said the expert. "They operate with small profit margins, the business impact is enormous, and it can take many years to overcome the impact on breeding programs." Pedigree sheep in particular, including cattle and pigs, are stolen. “Some affected farmers are being forced to downsize their herds. Some refrain from using the best grazing land because they are concerned about road access, ”Davidson said.
The insurance expert sees the trend towards stealing herding dogs with concern. "To commit a crime of this magnitude, you undoubtedly need a good German Shepherd to help."
Not recorded separately in the crime statistics
No comparable figures are known in Germany. The theft of livestock or livestock are not recorded separately in the crime statistics, the Federal Criminal Police Office announced on request. "A need to record this in the future has not yet been reported by the responsible states," said the federal government in August 2019 in response to a small request from the FDP parliamentary group. In the legal sense, animals are considered a thing in Germany.
The FDP agricultural expert Frank Sitta said that often only advertisements are recorded, but not the number of stolen animals. "Theft of entire breeding flocks, which causes considerable damage to farmers and threatens their livelihoods, suggests gang-type criminal activity," said Sitta. As a preventive measure, he called for the national traceability and information systems for animals - in Germany the HIT database - to be better networked at European level