I am a long-time supporter of animal welfare and animal rights, and I know that many of my constituents feel very strongly about these issues as too.
When we see cases of animal cruelty in the press the reaction is often the same. People are upset and angry that the terrible act has happened but they are also unhappy about the lack of justice that follows.
The current six-month maximum sentence for animal cruelty is neither a punishment nor a deterrent for these abhorrent crimes. Labour introduced some fantastic legislation to uphold animal rights, but it is right that we re-visit this and continue to improve upon it.
When the Government suggested raising the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years I welcomed it. It’s the right thing to do. But why hasn’t it happened?
The Government held a public consultation on the proposals which closed on 31st January 2018. No legislation has followed.
In April I submitted a question in Parliament asking when the consultation results will be published. The Minister responsible said the results will be published “shortly”. No legislation has followed.
Adjusting the maximum sentence would be a simple change but one that could make a huge difference. The Government invited the public to have their say and thousands responded to say it’s time to improve the law. The Government need to follow through.
I don’t want this issue to be pushed to one side. This week I have written to Michael Gove urging him to stop dragging his feet and bring forward legislation so that the law can be changed as soon as possible.