MPs back moves for tougher animal cruelty sentences

Richard Wheeler, PA Parliamentary Editor
·2-min read

Tougher sentences for animal abusers have moved closer to becoming law.

The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill would increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences 10-fold from six months in prison to five years.

The proposed legislation cleared the House of Commons after receiving an unopposed third reading from MPs.

It will now appear before the House of Lords to undergo further scrutiny.

Conservative Chris Loder (West Dorset), who introduced the Bill, previously explained he was inspired to seek tougher punishments after a mistreated dog he found abandoned by a road became his family’s treasured pet.

Cat stock
MPs have backed plans for tougher sentences on animal abusers (Nick Ansell/PA)

He said in a statement: “Today we are one step closer to tougher sentencing for animal cruelty.

“I am delighted that my Bill has finished its passage through the House of Commons and now goes to the House of Lords.

“This small, but important, change in law will help protect animals across the country. We are renowned as a nation of animal lovers and there is overwhelming public support for this Bill.”

The Government also supports the Bill, boosting its chances of becoming law.

The proposal was one of seven backbench Bills to clear the House of Commons on Friday, with the first one taking more than three hours and the other six being dealt with in 75 minutes.

The Prisons (Substance Testing) Bill, sponsored by Conservative former minister Dame Cheryl Gillan, was among those to sneak through in the legislative blitz.

Her proposed law would make it easier to test offenders in prisons for new forms of drugs.

Campaigners want to increase the speed of the process by which new psychoactive substances can be added to a list of drugs which can be tested for in prisons, as chemical formulations can change regularly to evade detection.