Dog Fighting

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 20 May 2022.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when sections of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 relating to videoing dog fighting will come into force in England.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government abhors animal fighting and tough penalties apply to those involved.

Last year, we introduced the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 which implements our manifesto commitment to increase the sentences available to courts for the most serious cases of animal cruelty. The Act’s new maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine applies to animal cruelty offences, including involvement in an animal fight.

Under the current sentencing guidelines the ‘use of technology to publicise or promote cruelty’ is listed as an aggravating factor for animal cruelty offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003 also makes it an offence to send material over a public electronic communications network which is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing.

We are keeping under review whether in addition to commence section 8(3) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 relating specifically to the filming of animal fights.

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