This is an issue I personally feel strongly about, having my own very loved dog, Poppy.
It is right that those who are cruel towards animals are prosecuted under the full force of the law. I am therefore pleased that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has now passed through the Public Bill Committee, backed by the Government, and I look forward to it coming back to the House for the Report Stage and Third Reading.
I am extremely pleased that a public consultation found 70 per cent of people supported the proposals for tougher prison sentences on this issue. As you may know, the planned change in law means the courts will be able to take a tougher approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals.
It makes me proud that the Government is taking further steps to elevate our reputation for animal welfare in this country. Ministers are taking advantage of our departure from the EU to deliver manifesto commitments to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening of livestock. Alongside this, they are continuing to work on developing new laws on animal sentience and cracking down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies, and remain committed to banning pet primates, introducing mandatory cat microchipping and implementing the Ivory Act.
I will of course continue to keep a close eye on this issue and the progress of the bill. You have my assurance that I will continue to do all I can to support the Bill’s swift passage through both the Commons and the Lords.
(Updated – 01.03.21)