Tougher prison sentences to punish animal abusers to be introduced
Tougher prison sentences for animal abusers are set to come into force following the introduction of new legislation laid today.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill will be introduced in Parliament today and the Welsh Government has agreed to the UK Parliament legislating for England and Wales.
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths will now put forward a Legislative Consent Motion for those aspects of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill which apply to Wales.
The new bill will mean that animal abusers could face up to five years in prison, a significant increase from the current maximum sentence of six months.
This will make it one of the toughest sanctions in Europe.
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“Animal welfare is a priority for the Welsh Government. The way we treat animals is an important reflection of the values of our society.
Animals should be protected from pain, injury, fear and distress, and those who commit the worst acts of animal of cruelty should face tough punishments.
Maintaining a comparative sentencing regime across England and Wales is important to ensure clarity for enforcement agencies, the Courts and the public alike.
That is why we have agreed to the UK Parliament legislating by Act for England and Wales and an increase to five years imprisonment be introduced. This will send a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.”
The RSPCA has long campaigned for tougher prison sentences for animal abusers, and a vote at the National Assembly for Wales could mean a huge leap from six months to five years.
Claire Lawson, RSPCA Cymru’s assistant director for external affairs, said:
“This announcement is great news for animals in Wales – and sends a real statement of intent.
“We know most people in Wales join us in being appalled by animal abuse, and these measures will ensure that courtrooms can hand-down far stricter sentences for those who are cruel to our fellow living creatures.
“Prosecution is always a last resort for the RSPCA – but sometimes we have no other option. Sadly, last year saw a five-year high for our prosecution activity in Wales; but stronger punishments will act as a further deterrent to animal abuse.
“It is fantastic news that the Welsh Government is backing a legislative consent motion, paving the way for the relevant aspects of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill to apply for Wales.
“We now urge Assembly Members from across the political spectrum to back this LCM and deliver a united voice against animal abuse, and in favour of tougher prison sentences being made available for the most heinous acts.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com