Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that that Act does not deal with the distress that is caused to animals, and that that is a loophole? Will my hon. and learned Friend please think again about the Guard Dogs Act?
I am well aware of my hon. Friend's deep interest in the welfare of all animals and of her position in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It would be difficult to make a statutory distinction between distress and unnecessary suffering. It is a matter for the court to consider on the facts of the case. In a particularly bad case, where an animal had been tied up for a very long time it would be open to a court to find that there had been a breach of the Act.