I long supported increasing the maximum sentence available for animal cruelty offences. The announced change in law now means the six-month maximum sentence has been increased to 5 years. I really welcome this increase as it was simply inadequate for the severity of some of these terrible crimes. Increased sentences will send a strong message to perpetrators that animal abuse will not be tolerated in this country.
Changing the law become even more important than ever as we saw a worrying trend of increases in animal cruelty during the coronavirus lockdown. Between March 2020 and August 2020, the RSPCA dealt with over 100,000 incidents, including complaints of cruelty and rescuing and caring for animals in need.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was introduced by Chris Loder MP in early 2020. This Bill, coupled with ‘Finn’s Law’, ensures that those who harm either service or any other animals are punished accordingly.
Whilst the change in the law for tougher longer sentences is encouraging I believe it should be reviewed in two years to ensure that wild animals are protected as well as domestic ones.
I have spoken extensively before on animal welfare in Parliament, including putting this question to the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on having animal welfare inspectors:
And again I have written to this department to hold the Government to account on the number of animals transported to mainland Europe for slaughter:
I am also delighted to have joined the Puppy Smuggling Taskforce and support Dogs Trust in their efforts to raise awareness of and tackle the abhorrent puppy smuggling trade.
All details are correct at date of publication