Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:54 pm on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Sue Hayman Sue Hayman Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:54 pm, 10th July 2019

But if any person directs an animal to do such appalling harm, should not that person bear some responsibility?

The Sentencing Council recommends that if a defendant pleads guilty at the first reasonable opportunity, the sentence may be cut by a third, so someone who commits the most serious crime against animals and pleads guilty could end up serving only four months in prison. I think we would all agree that that is an incredibly inadequate sentence for some of the crimes we have heard about.

The Minister mentioned that many people have campaigned for the increase, and I would like to mention groups such as the League Against Cruel Sports, the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, all of which have campaigned strongly for the measure, having previously expressed concern about the leniency of sentencing.