Battersea Dog and Cats Home Campaign for Longer Sentences for Animal Cruelty
I have received many emails from constituents regarding the proposal to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to 5 years. This proposal has been backed by the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home campaign on the issue, and they have put out a report detailing how UK law stands in relation to animal protection law in other countries. Their report makes clear that as it stands the UK has one of the lowest maximum sentences for animal cruelty, (12 – 26 weeks custody). in Europe. The full report can be found here.
The report makes for very interesting, though disturbing, reading. I fully stand behind the aims of the Battersea campaign. It is very clear that many other countries have gone much further in allowing extended sentences for extreme cases of animal cruelty. Cases of animal cruelty often seem to present the very worst of human nature, as owners or their friends horrifically abuse animals that they were meant to provide care for. By capping the maximum sentence at 6 months the law ties the hands of judges when they are faced with the most extreme cases of animal abuse and cruelty.
I supported Anna Turley MP's private member's bill on animal cruelty which I discussed with Anna before the bill was drafted. Unfortunately due to time constraints the bill was not heard before the House. However, the fight to ensure animal safety and curb animal cruelty in our country continues and I stand fully behind it.
The Labour Party has a proud record of standing up for animal rights, in Government we delivered the Animal Welfare Act in 2006, that made animal welfare law much more proactive in protecting animals, rather than simply waiting for animals to be harmed. At the time we led the world in animal rights legislation. But, the Battersea Report has shown that the world has moved on and we need to make Britain one of the strongest defenders of animal rights in the world again. Therefore I back the increasing of sentences for animal cruelty to 5 years.