A petition has been launched asking the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, George Eustice MP, to make it a legal requirement to give farm animals shelter.
Professional dog walker and Darlington resident Kathy Burley started the petition, saying: “There are farm animals across the UK burning in the searing summer sun without access to so much as a single tree for shelter.”
UK law states that farmers should look after the health and welfare of their animals, but there is no explicit requirement to provide them with shelter.
This year’s summer has seen temperatures reach record highs, with 21 June reaching 34.5 degrees making it the hottest June day in 40 years. The heat and lack of rainfall has affected the farming industry as the dry fields have meant there is less grass to eat and farmers have struggled to source natural water supply.
Numerous farming sector associations have also advised that farmers keep animals in the shade either with trees or by moving them to shading buildings. It has also been said that cattle can be given suncream, but only with the recommendation of a vet.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) relaunched its ‘fodder bank’ in the beginning of July, a free service offering its members with cattle feed and animal bedding as well as allowing them to sell any surplus in response to the weather’s impact on fodder levels.
At the time of writing, nearly 61,000 people have signed the petition.