We have some more positive news to share with you on the animal welfare front.
It has been announced in the last couple of days that prison sentences for animal cruelty cases will increase.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove is the man responsible for setting out the draft legislation called the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill and following a consultation yesterday, the Government has confirmed it will legislate an increase on the current six-month prison sentence to a five-year prison sentence for those who commit the worst cases of animal abuse.
The consultation also put in place proposals to guarantee animal sentience is reflected in domestic law when we leave the EU. The new law will also ensure that those involved in organising dog fights will receive tougher prison sentences.
In addition to this, the Government supports the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, introduced to Parliament by Sir Oliver Heald MP that will ensure service animals such as police dogs and horses will be offered greater protection. The current law of self-defence as an excuse for abuse will also be removed to ensure that this is no longer a valid argument for harming a service animal when committing a crime.
Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Gardiner spoke on the matter saying that: This Government is making good on our commitment to make the UK a world leader in the care and protection of animals as we leave the EU…Our proposals to raise maximum sentences for animal abusers attracted strong support. We will now legislate so courts have the power to punish offenders properly…We will also continue to work with welfare organisations to ensure that animal sentience is properly recognised in our legislation once we have left the EU”
The new legislation has been welcomed whole-heartedly by animal welfare groups such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and The RSPCA.