A new bill that could send those found guilty of animal abuse to prison for up to 5 years has just been announced! Following Cabinet approval, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (also known as DEFRA) made the news official. This comes in the wake of a long and dedicated struggle spearheaded by multiple animal welfare organizations such as the RSPCA, their goal being to increase the maximum punishment for grave offenses against animals from 6 months to 5 years.
Many other countries already have such strict measures in place, understanding the severity of such heinous acts. The goal of this bill is to match the punishment to the crime- those who are convicted of animal abuse often escape any real consequences due to the comparative lightness of the offense in the eyes of the law.
As the RSPCA (an animal welfare charity) chief executive Chris Sherwood explains that this reform is long overdue. Finally, those who are involved in organized crime that causes harm to animals will receive the justice they deserve.
In an appalling case of animal cruelty, 3 men from Wales were sentenced to jail for terms ranging from 18 to 22 weeks after convicted for a practice called “badger baiting” where they set dogs upon badgers in a horrifying fight to the death.
In footage taken from the suspects’ mobile phones, there were hundreds of videos, text messages and images showing unfathomably horrible acts of animal cruelty. They include videos of animals being murdered in cold blood, and dogs being sent to hunt baby badgers whom they then skin alive. In another video, one can see a badger being hit on the head with a shovel, killed by the gruesome attack.
Chris Sherwood met with multiple other charities and hosted an open forum with various government representatives in an effort to increase the maximum punishment for such acts. Hopefully, this latest bill will give courts the ability to implement fitting consequences for those who engage in severe abuse of animals, as well as serve as a deterrent for those who may be considering it.
The goal? To stop animal cruelty.