Losing Animals to Livestock Rustling

A distressing story that reaches the headlines time and time again is that of livestock rustlers - thieves that not only steal livestock but machinery and equipment for their own gain that is then sold on the black market.

 Rustling can be anything from people stealing one or two lambs for their own consumption to large scale, organised livestock thefts destined for the food chain. It can be hugely damaging to farmers livelihoods, cause serious welfare issues for the animals and awful consequences if diseases are spread. It could even affect the health of the customers who purchase illegal meat.


What encourages Livestock Rustlers?

 One of the main reasons that an increase in rustlers occurs is when the price of meat increases. Thieves see this as an opportunity to steal livestock and sell it to the food chain. Rural thieves respond to changes in prices and will take anything that they feel they can sell on.

 Thieves are currently taking advantage of the high demand for food, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as the cost of livestock theft rose nearly 15% year on year in April 2020.


How Bad is Livestock Rustling in the UK?

 NFU Mutual figures show the cost of livestock theft to the farming industry has risen by 19.4% in the past two years, and farm animals worth almost £3 million were stolen from UK farms last year, a rise of 9%, however, these figures may be so much worse as farmers struggle to report crimes for following reasons:

  • a lack of action taken when a crime is reported.
  • a belief police forces don’t have enough power to be effective against rural crime.
  • fear of intimidation or being targeted by the criminals as a result.

Protecting rural areas requires vigilance by farmers and the community and with every farm being unique, each one will have a unique response to how they protect their animals and their property.

 Studies have shown that an increase in livestock rustling and criminality also impacts the mental wellbeing of everyone in the rural community as well as the financial burden.


NFU Mutual offer lots of advice to farmers to better protect their livestock including:

  •  Padlock field gates
  • Make certain your stock is clearly marked and your records are up to date.
  • Allow livestock to graze in fields away from the road (if possible)
  • Check stock regularly – at feeding time and check ups
  • Consider marking your stock with a high-tech marking system
  • Talk to your neighbours and ask them to report anything unusual.
  • Join a FarmWatch scheme.


How can our LoRaWAN alert system help?

 At Ver Facil, we have a remote security alert system which will send you alerts when a gate is opened or intruder detected enabling intervention if anyone has accessed your field or premises.

 The battery powered sensors are wireless and easy to install. It sends a real-time alert to the farmer or farm manager allowing action to be taken. The LoRaWAN network coverage provides sensor connectivity over several miles, meaning one gateway enables gate monitoring across an entire farm.

 If you are concerned about your livestock and would like to know if there are intruders on your premises or your gates are opening without your knowledge, the alert system can not only provide intruder detection but can also count the number of times the gate is opened and provide verification that the gate remains open/closed.


If you think that this sensor would better protect your livestock please give us a call on 01208 811277 or email office@verfacil.co.uk for more information.