Animal Cruelty

In response to the campaign on animal cruelty, David said:

"I am pleased that we have a robust legal framework to tackle this vicious behaviour in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

The Government routinely monitors sentencing policy for all offences, including animal welfare offences. I am pleased that the Government will bring forward legislation to increase punishments for the most horrific acts of animal cruelty to five years.

The courts must decide what the penalty should be for each individual case, taking into account its circumstances and the guidelines laid down by the Sentencing Council. Currently, in addition to the maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, the courts can also disqualify offenders from keeping animals for as long as they consider appropriate.

Further details on the sentencing guidelines can be found at the following link:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/item/animal-cruelty-revised-2017/"

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Battersea Animal Home

In response to Battersea Animal Homes campaign for stricter sentencing for offences of animal cruelty David said:

"We have a robust legal framework to tackle this vicious behaviour in the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

The law, and the penalties for breaking it, were reviewed by the Parliamentary Select Committee for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2012. At that time the Committee did not recommend increasing the maximum sentencing available to the courts. However, I am happy to say that the previous cap in the fine charges of animal abuse can attract has been removed, and I can also tell you that the Ministry of Justice is now looking at whether there is a case for increasing the penalties further.

The courts must decide what the penalty should be for each individual case, taking into account its circumstances and the guidelines laid down by the Sentencing Council. There has recently been a public consultation into sentencing guidelines for these crimes, which resulted in the Council confirming the removal of the cap on the financial element of the penalty, and clarifying a range of relevant factors that would indicate a more serious offence."

More information about the campaign can be found here.