Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:36 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip 1:36 pm, 10th July 2019

Once again, my hon. Friend speaks with authority on the subject, and he can be assured that we are working through all those details. I just want to underline that costs will be covered through the arrangements put in place.

As I was saying, dog fighting inflicts a high level of suffering on the animals involved. We believe that in such cases, where the level of cruelty and culpability is so high, a higher sentence is clearly justified, and I am sure that the House agrees.

The Bill is a simple measure, amounting to just two clauses, but with a very positive outcome. Clause 1 is the Bill’s main clause; it outlines the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain animal welfare offences. As I previously outlined, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the maximum penalty in practice is currently six months and/or an unlimited fine. The clause changes the maximum custodial sentence available for five key offences: causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal; carrying out a non-exempted mutilation; docking the tail of a dog, except where permitted; administering a poison to an animal; and involvement in an animal fight.