Animal Cruelty Register

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 25th May 2021.

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Photo of Joanne Bunting Joanne Bunting DUP 2:30 pm, 25th May 2021

T6. Ms Bunting asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to outline the discussions that he has had with the Minister of Justice to progress an animal cruelty register. (AQT 1356/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The Justice Minister and I met earlier this month to discuss that very issue.

Photo of Joanne Bunting Joanne Bunting DUP

I thank the Minister for his short and sweet answer. What are his plans to strengthen the laws on cruelty and animal welfare? Is there a time frame for the progression of such an animal cruelty register?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I am very keen to see these laws progressed, and I am very keen to get to a situation in which people who have been cruel to animals have their names associated with that cruelty. Then, when councils are looking at applications for dog licences or for people to keep dogs, they can very quickly assess whether individuals are suitable people to keep animals.

We seem to have issues with the Department of Justice and the sharing of information. I believe that, if people have engaged in criminal activities that involve cruelty to animals, there should be no hiding place for them. I hope that the Department of Justice will find a way of working with us — there is, perhaps, a greater willingness than there was — to ensure that, first, we can identify people who engage in animal cruelty and, secondly, ensure that people who engage in it do not have the opportunity to persist in their activities by being allowed to keep animals in the future.

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

Time is up. Members, please take your ease for a moment or two.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr Beggs] in the Chair)