Chris Loder, the MP for West Dorset, introduced his Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill in the House of Commons on 5th February. The Private Members’ Bill makes provision for the maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be increased from six months to up to five years.
The second reading, which was originally tabled for 12th June, will now take place on 23rd October 2020.
The MP, who is a fourth generation farmer’s son and an advocate of high animal welfare, says his own dog Poppy, a Springer Spaniel, is part of his inspiration for the Bill. She was cruelly abandoned at the roadside in West Dorset but is now a much-loved farm dog and family pet. He says:
“Despite legislation being in place, I was shocked to learn that in 2019 the RSPCA investigated more than 130,700 complaints of cruelty against animals and secured 1,678 convictions. I believe more stringent sentencing will act as a greater deterrent against animal cruelty. Britain needs to take a lead on global standards for animal welfare. We are renowned to be a nation of animal lovers – now let’s prove that by handing down appropriate penalties to those who bring unnecessary suffering to animals”. Chris Loder MP
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has been introduced to the House of Commons, before moving to the House of Lords. If passed, it will come into effect in two months after it receives Royal Assent.
You can track the progress of the Bill here: