Tougher prison sentences for animal cruelty will come into force this summer after the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill received Royal Assent this week. This new law allows courts to take a firmer approach to dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, illegally cropping a dog’s ears and gross neglect of farm animals. It raises the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years .
This new law makes good on our commitments to improve animal welfare and tackle animal cruelty. The more stringent sentences will be some of the toughest in Europe.
The Government has also confirmed that it will be bringing forward legislation later this year to end live animal exports for fattening and slaughter, following a formal consultation on this. I spoke in Parliament this week to welcome the Government’s action on live animal exports. I have spoken this week to Irish Ferries, who have recently announced they will be operating from the Port of Dover, and they have confirmed to me that they have no intention of carrying any live animals that are destined for fattening or slaughter on the Dover/Calais route. It is a disgusting practice that has been driven from Dover and must never be allowed to return.