BBC anti-sheep rustling solutions shot down
Published:  16 December, 2016

Ideas set out in BBC 2 programme The Big Life Fix to combat sheep rustling have been debunked by the industry. 

In an effort to tackle the epidemic of sheep rustling in the UK, the show came up with two ideas for the farming community.

One was an ear tag with indelible ink, similar to that used in clothes shops that would permanently mark the animal and the perpetrator if tampered with.

The other was an internal tracking device that can be linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This can be used to track an animal from a flock through GPS.

On the show, the presenters said they were in talks with the industry about rolling it out further.

The National Sheep Association said that while the ideas were good in theory but not “financially viable”.

A spokesperson said: “These solutions to the problem of sheep rustling are fantastic in theory, and while NSA does support technology like this in what its aiming to achieve it unfortunately just isn’t financially viable for the average sheep farmer to invest in given profitability of the sector as a whole. Unless the cost massively reduced I think the likelihood of it becoming a hit among a decent number of sheep farmers is fairly limited.”

According to the National Farmers’ Union Mutual Rural Crime Survey, rural theft cost an estimated £42.5m in the UK during 2015 while the cost of livestock theft rose 7% during the year.