Update (14:00, 23 October 2020): We are delighted that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has passed its second reading in the House of Commons. This vital Bill would increase prison sentences for the most serious animal cruelty offences from six months up to five years.
It was praised and supported by MPs from all sides of the House of Commons. At the end of the debate, the Environment Minister Victoria Prentis confirmed that the Bill has the full support of the Government and that they will do all they can to get the it enacted as quickly as possible.
Previous versions of the Bill have failed to make it all the way into law, however, so IFAW will continue to work hard to make sure the Bill is passed and comes into force as soon as possible to protect individual animals across the country.
Today (Friday 23th October 2020) Parliament will once again debate the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill. It’s a draft piece of legislation designed to increase prison sentences for the most serious animal cruelty offences from six months up to five years.
You might well be thinking “wait, wasn’t this sorted last year?” and that would be a fair question. There were very similar Bills last year, but one fell away at the final hurdle right at the end of the 2017-2019 Parliamentary session and then another version fell as a result of the General Election in December 2019. So here we are again!
Here at IFAW we have supported these measures for a long time and worked hard to convince MPs from all political parties to make this happen.
This time the Bill has been introduced by Chris Loder MP as a Private Member’s Bill. Crucially it comes with Government support, as without it, it’s very difficult for a Bill introduced by a backbench MP to make it into law. Although this won’t be the final step for this Bill, it is an important stage in the parliamentary process so we are encouraging all MPs to back it.
We are heartbroken every time we hear a case of animals being beaten, abandoned or killed. Unfortunately animal abuse hasn’t stopped during lockdown. If successful, this Bill would increase the maximum prison sentence for certain animal cruelty offences in England and Wales to five years, which we believe would provide a significant deterrent for many.
It has long been agreed by politicians, animal welfare groups and criminal justice experts that animal cruelty offences need tougher sentences. Now MPs have the chance to make sure we increase penalties for abusers.
IFAW will continue to work hard to make sure the Bill is passed and comes into force as soon as possible to protect individual animals across the country.
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