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MPs call for tougher cruelty sentences

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THE Government is facing increasing pressure to review maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences after MPs from across the political spectrum supported a call for the maximum penalty for animal welfare offences to be increased to five years.

Following a debate in the House of Commons on March 30, MPs voted in favour of a motion noting that current penalties for animal welfare offences in England were among the lowest in Europe and calling for the maximum penalty to be increased.

The debate was secured by Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton and chair of the parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACom). Last year, in a report on domestic animal welfare in England, the committee recommended that the maximum penalty for animal welfare offences should be increased from the current six months' imprisonment to five years.

Opening the debate, Mr Parish said that judges should have the flexibility to give longer sentences for the worst examples of animal cruelty. This, he said, would act ‘both as a well-deserved …

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