People who commit offences against animals will face fines of up to £5,000 under new legislation introduced to Parliament yesterday (June 16).
The fines will be introduced to ensure that offenders face tougher penalties for crimes in addition to the existing maximum five-year prison sentence for the most serious offences.
The Animals (Penalty Notices) Bill, a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Andrew Rosindell MP and backed by the Government, will create a system of financial penalties of up to £5,000 for animal health and welfare offences. The penalties, which could include on-the-spot fines, can be issued to individuals who have cruelly mistreated pets, zoo animals and livestock.
These new penalties will provide the authorities with an additional enforcement measure to be used alongside warnings and criminal prosecution, introducing ‘a more consistent and targeted approach’ to protecting all animals from harm.
The new fines will act as a key deterrent to would-be animal abusers in addition to the new five year maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty, which was introduced by the Government through the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill earlier this year.
Introducing the Bill, Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said: “In my 20 years as an MP I have consistently fought for animal welfare. Society should rightly be judged by how it treats the animals in its care but for many years, EU regulations limited the improvements that could be made.
“Now that we have left the EU we have an unrivalled opportunity to make the changes that are so desperately needed. That means stronger sentences for the worst animal abusers under Chris Loder’s historic legislation.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Animal cruelty has no place in our society and this Government is committed to ensuring those who abuse animals are subject to the full force of the law.
“These new fines will build on our actions to improve our already-world-leading animal welfare standards, including raising the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty to five years.”