Mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain animal welfare offences

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water) 2:00 pm, 23rd July 2019

I support the statements of my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar, but I would also like to raise a further matter for the Minister to reflect on in his reply: the possibility of including in the Government’s online harms White Paper elements that would address the online distribution of abuse images and videos.

The Government have rightly made much effort to tackle online abuse, address mental health concerns and deal with offensive imagery and online behaviours—a critical issue, especially for our young people. However, when I skimmed through the online harms White Paper in advance of this Committee sitting, I found no mention of animal welfare or of the distribution of the kind of images that my hon. Friend mentioned. There is an opportunity for the Minister to reflect on how a conversation between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport might help to support the collective Government effort against the sharing of these disgusting images and videos, and create a more comprehensive system.