Urgent call for Animal Welfare Commission and Commissioner to be set up in Northern Ireland

SDLP MLA Cara Hunter is clear Northern Ireland's animal welfare system is broken, she is pictured alongside Springer Spaniel who was literally bred to death at a puppy farm
-Credit: (Image: USPCA and Press Eye)

Northern Ireland must establish an Animal Welfare Commission and Commissioner according to SDLP MLA Cara Hunter.

Ms Hunter raised the issue during a Members Statement in Stormont on June 11 and expressed her outrage at the ongoing reports of animal abuse in Northern Ireland.

Now she wants a new body created to help safeguard animals, scrutinise how public bodies discharge or fail to discharge their function.

Read more: Police urge public for help over video of alleged dog abuse

The East Derry MLA said: “I have called for the Executive to establish an Animal Welfare Commission along the lines of the Scottish model. The creation of a discrete Animal Welfare Commission and dedicated Animal Welfare Commissioner will allow Stormont to avail of expert led guidance on how we can best deal with the enduring tragedy that is the abuse of both wild and companion animals.

“In the absence of such a unit, our local councils are struggling to cope and have failed to comprehensively provide solutions, whilst the PSNI continues to fail to halt and punish the perpetrators.

"In calling for the creation of such a unit, the Executive will be able to avail of evidence-based policy on the protection of animals, which will provide the necessary guidance for legislative and non-legislative routes that can foster an environment in which all animals finally get the protection they deserve and that those who abuse animals are appropriately held to account.

"Across social media, constituents have been sickened by the images and videos emerging, purportedly showing the abuse and unlawful killing of dogs within my constituency.

"And constituents rightly demand that this issue receives the urgent attention it deserves."

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