Examination of Witnesses

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:31 am on 23rd July 2019.

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Michael Flower:

When we had discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the Animal Welfare Bill, one of the important things that had to follow its enactment was publicity to educate the public that the law had changed and to make it clear that there were now new requirements for animal care, particularly in relation to the duty of care offence. When DEFRA introduced the codes of practice for domestic animals, that did not really happen.

Were this Bill to be enacted, I would again say that there needs to be a fairly significant media campaign to educate the public—to say that this is a new law with new penalties and that the Government and the country take the crime seriously—and to drive that message home to them. We try to educate people. Most of the work our officers do—although we talk in here about investigations and prosecutions—is about educating and advising people, and providing guidance to resolve problems before we get to the prosecution stage. We can put the message out, and I am sure that other agencies and charities will do so, but the Government need to do that as well—it needs to come from on high.