While out and about in Wycombe during the election campaign, many constituents asked me to support a campaign to increase the maximum custodial sentence for the most serious acts of animal cruelty to five years imprisonment. I subsequently wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ask whether UK sentences for animal cruelty could be aligned with international norms.
I was therefore glad to hear the Secretary of State announce that animal abusers could face up to five years in prison.
The Government has announced plans to bring forward new legislation that will increase the current maximum sentence tenfold. Courts will retain the ability to hand out an unlimited fine and ban an offender from owning animals.
This move will bring maximum sentences for animal cruelty in England into line with other countries including Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
I am delighted that the Government is taking decisive action on this important issue. The UK is a nation of animal lovers and I have been concerned to read how some people wilfully inflict pain on an animal whether by starving, beating, torturing or killing. Draft legislation will be published for consultation around the turn of the year.
For further information, please read the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s press release here.