30th Sept. 2017: The UK government announced that animal abusers could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison for the most serious forms of animal abuse. The plan was unveiled by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove. They’ve been thinking about this for a while. It is believed that the current law leaves a hole in respect of punishment for the most severe cases of animal abuse.
The gov.uk website states that the current maximum sentence is six months. I disagree. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 states the maximum is “imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or..a fine…
Anyway a stiffening of the sentencing guidelines for animal abusers is welcome in the interests of animal welfare. This change is designed to adequately deal with a number of recent shocking cases where judges have indicated that they would have handed down stronger sentences if the law had allowed.
Michael Gove said that the British are a nation of animal lovers. I beg to differ. We like animals and most of us care about animal welfare but there is too much animal abuse in the country to argue that we are animal lovers in general.
The UK want to be “world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead”. Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and NI have these long sentences in place already.
In the UK, on average, 1,150 people are convicted of animal cruelty annually. The problem is that less than five received the maximum sentence.
The longer sentence will be accompanied by an unlimited fine and ban on owning animals.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the RSPCA are both delighted with the proposals. I am sure that most of the public is too.
The plans are linked in to leaving the EU. The UK wants to lead on animal welfare after Brexit.