I am delighted to have successfully changed the law with the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021. This new Act, which was signed into law by Her Majesty The Queen today, increases the maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 tenfold, from six months to up to five years.
This new law increases the maximum for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to up to five years. This will ensure that the punishment equals the severity of the crime and deter would-be animal abusers. It has taken months of hard work to achieve this new law, with coronavirus disruption to the Parliamentary timetable presenting many hurdles to overcome. The Bill was signed into law just hours before the end of the Parliamentary Session when, if not having achieved Royal Assent, the Bill would have fallen.
My own dog, Poppy, was my inspiration for bringing forward this new law. The Springer Spaniel was cruelly abandoned at the roadside in West Dorset in January 2019 when I found her and brought her home to my family farm.
We are renowned as a nation of animal lovers and I believe that Britain can now take the lead on global standards for animal welfare. I will continue to work hard for animals, and I will continue campaigning on non-stun slaughter and live animal exports.
I am grateful to Lord Randall of Uxbridge for steering the Bill through the House of Lords, and also from many other charities that have supported me with this Bill, including the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, the RSPCA, and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.