This week at conference, the Environment Secretary announced changes to the sentencing policy applied to some of the most horrendous acts of animal cruelty. Under new proposals, those found guilty of cruelty to animals will be sentenced up to a maximum of five years, up from the six months it is at present in England.
It is right that those people who commit the most shocking cruelty against animals should face suitably tough punishment. We will give courts the powers they have called for to punish the most abhorrent acts and deter other offenders. This measure will ensure animal cruelty is treated with the seriousness it deserves. At the moment, courts can hand out a five-year sentence for fly-tipping but only a six-month sentence for heinous acts of cruelty to animals. We will correct this by ensuring tougher penalties are available to the courts for the very worst offences.
We are proud of the steps this country has taken to ensure we have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. While most people do look after the animals in their care, a small minority still think that it is acceptable behaviour to abuse and harm animals. Delivering a green Brexit gives us the opportunity to maintain and enhance our already high welfare standards, and ensure that we send a very clear message to those who do harm and abuse animals that what they are doing is wrong and it won’t be tolerated.