Tougher prison sentences for animal abusers are set to come into force following the introduction of new legislation laid today.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill will be introduced in Parliament today and the Welsh Government has agreed to the UK Parliament legislating for England and Wales.
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths will now put forward a Legislative Consent Motion for those aspects of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill which apply to Wales.
The new bill will mean that animal abusers could face up to 5 years in prison, a significant increase from the current maximum sentence of 6 months. This will make it one of the toughest sanctions in Europe.
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“Animal welfare is a priority for the Welsh Government. The way we treat animals is an important reflection of the values of our society. Animals should be protected from pain, injury, fear and distress, and those who commit the worst acts of animal of cruelty should face tough punishments.
“Maintaining a comparative sentencing regime across England and Wales is important to ensure clarity for enforcement agencies, the Courts and the public alike. That is why we have agreed to the UK Parliament legislating by Act for England and Wales and an increase to 5 years imprisonment be introduced. This will send a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.”