Thank you to all those who have contacted me about this issue.
As I hope you will know by now, I am an animal lover and abhor cruelty of any kind – it upsets me greatly.
Just before the election was called, there was a debate in Parliament on this very subject. The debate focussed on a recent report published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, in particular on the issues of sentencing for animal cruelty offences. I have outlined my thoughts on this subject on my website here:
Some progress has been made; we have a strong legal framework contained in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and in 2015 the £20,000 maximum fine was lifted to allow a higher financial penalty to be charged. Furthermore, I know the Ministry of Justice has been looking at whether there is a case for increasing the penalties further.
In the last Parliament, I met with Battersea on more than one occasion to see what I could do to support their aims. Whilst I do accept that it is a matter for the courts to decide what the penalty should be for each individual case, I would be happy to support any attempts to increase the length of animal cruelty sentences.