Ruth Edwards has supported the Animal Welfare (Fixed Penalty Notices) Bill on its third reading in Parliament.
The Bill was put forward by the Member of Parliament for Romsford, Andrew Rosindell as a Private Members Bill.
The bill plugs an important gap in existing legislation, where cruelty and serious neglect of animals can rightly result in a jail sentence, but more minor offences only result in a warning.
Under these new proposals, local authorities or the police can issue financial penalties of up to £5000, for offences that wouldn’t warrant imprisonment.
There is a fantastic coalition of support for this bill, including organisations such as the RSPCA, the NFU, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and the Blue Cross
This will reform the way that Defra enforces animal welfare for all kept animals including livestock, animals in zoos and pets.
Ruth said of the bill; “I welcome this approach to toughening of laws at the less serious end of the spectrum. I hope that they will act as a deterrent and as an educational tool to many people.”
“There is no place for those who mistreat animals and I welcome the part that this bill will play when it becomes law.”
This is not the only animal welfare bill that Ruth has endorsed this week. She also supported the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill which will ban the use of glue traps without a license.
Whilst glue traps are cheap and are marketed as safe and nontoxic, the suffering caused to the animal they trap can be immense. They can remain alive unable to move for at least 24 hours after being caught.
Ruth is a passionate supporter of animal welfare who has spoken before in support of this bill. She often recounts the escapades of her own animals, such as the break in to the chicken run staged by her donkeys Sgt Wilson and Godfrey.
The United Kingdom is a world leader on animal welfare issues and the Government is continuing this proud tradition by increasing the maximum sentence for serious animal cruelty for crimes like dogfighting from 6 months to 5 years.
The Government is also introducing a new dog abduction offence which recognises the harm and distress caused to animals and their owners when a pet is stolen.
Ruth used responses to her ‘Rushcliffe Pet Theft’ survey in Parliament to champion the creation of this offence.
Ruth said ‘we are a nation of animal lovers and can rightly be proud of our world leading animal welfare legislation. I will continue to work with other MPs and with the Government to strengthen animal welfare legislation.