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RSPCA Cymru relieved Animal Welfare Bill passes committee stage

The charity has been calling for tougher sentencing for the worst animal abusers for years - and hopes that MPs from across the parties will come together to pass the Bill for the good of animals across England

RSPCA Cymru has expressed its relief that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has passed its committee stage.

The charity has been calling for tougher sentencing for the worst animal abusers for years – and hopes that MPs from across the parties will come together to pass the Bill for the good of animals across England.

The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was brought forward by Chris Loder MP where it was debated by MPs and passed its latest stage to become law. The next step is for it to go through the Report Stage and Third Reading before heading to the House of Lords.

In 2017, the UK government pledged to reform the maximum sentence for those prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act in England, increasing maximum prison terms from six months to five years.

In Wales, the Welsh government is expected to put a “legislative consent motion” before the Welsh parliament, which would mean any change in the law in England would likely apply in Wales.

Heidi Allen, director of advocacy and policy , RSPCA Cymru, said: “Because MPs and Peers agree with us that no suffering animal can afford to wait another minute. We believe the will exists to speed the Bill through the House of Commons and House of Lords if the UK Government allows time for it.

“The current sentences available to courts dealing with abhorrent acts of violence against animals as well as serious, organised animal crime are completely inadequate. It’s time this changed and our courts had more power when it comes to sentencing the perpetrators of these hideous crimes. So we implore all MPs, Peers and the Government to do everything they can to get Chris Loder’s Bill through.”

Loder added: “We’re one step closer to increasing tenfold 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’re 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.”

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