Animal welfare charity, Battersea, has praised the Scottish Government and MSPs from across parliament for delivering on their “promise” to increase maximum sentences for the worst animal cruelty offences from 12 months to five years.
The ‘Animals and Wildlife Bill’ first introduced in October last year, passed its third and final reading earlier this week (17 June).
The charity first launched its campaign to increase maximum sentencing in Scotland in 2017 and have been encouraged by the Scottish Government’s commitment to this change in law.
This Bill will raise the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in Scotland from 12 months to five years, and will become the law after it receives Royal Assent.
Battersea revealed In England and Wales, the maximum punishment is the lowest in Europe at just six months and said the Westminster Bill has been “postponed yet again; despite the government first pledging its support almost three years ago”.
Battersea’s chief executive, Claire Horton, said: “We’re thrilled to see this Bill make such quick progress. The Scottish Government has sent out a clear message that Scotland will not tolerate the most heinous animal cruelty crimes and will respond accordingly.
“This change in law will protect innocent animals and act as a proper deterrent to those who abuse and mistreat animals.”
She added: “We have been campaigning for this change for a very long time alongside Scottish SPCA, other rescue organisations and many thousands of Scots who have written to their MSPs and called for this on social media.
“This change would not have happened without everyone’s support. Now we desperately need England and Wales to follow in the Scots’ footsteps.”
Earlier this month, Battersea has responded to Labour’s call for the government to pass the long-awaited Animal Cruelty Sentencing Bill.