WEST Dorset MP Chris Loder has called for a tenfold increase in custodial sentences for those who abuse animals.
Mr Loder spoke at a recent meeting of the House of Commons Committee, where his Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was scrutinised in detail.
The bill, which the MP brought to parliament as a Private Members’ Bill in 2020, makes provision for the maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be increased by tenfold – from six months to up to five years.
He said: “Today we are one step closer to increasing the maximum custodial penalty for those who abuse animals.
“The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but in terms of penalties we are currently amongst the lowest.
“I am so pleased that this bill is making progress today, sending a clear signal to potential offenders that there is no place for animal cruelty in this country.”
The MP says that, whilst this bill is about animals, it is worth noting the strong link between acts of violence against animals and acts of violence against people – and that tackling animal abuse is an important factor in tackling domestic abuse as well.
Mr Loder was inspired to bring forward the bill by his own dog Poppy, a springer spaniel who he rescued after she had been abandoned at the roadside on a stormy night several years ago, having very clearly been mistreated.
He will continue to press for this bill to become law, and it now moves forward to the penultimate stage in the House of Commons.
For further information visit www.chrisloder.co.uk/animalwelfare