Better animal welfare


The Government has published a draft bill which would increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months to five years, in England and Wales. The draft bill also sets out that the government “must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”. Subject to consultation on the draft bill, the government will legislate to deliver both aims.
The plans underline the government’s commitment to raising animal welfare standards, ensuring there will be enhanced protections for animals as we leave the EU.

Many constituents will be pleased that we will strengthen protections for animals.


  1. Harry Harrison
    December 12, 2017

    Will it outlaw the killing of animals in slaughterhouses without pre-stunning ?

  2. Norman
    December 12, 2017

    John, as you may remember, this subject was very much part of my stock in trade. I am a little wary, though, as I think our existing laws already fully recognize animal sentience, and have done so since Victorian times! As so often, its not making new laws and punishments, but properly and sensibly enforcing what we already have.
    I found in recent years that solving welfare cases was often a matter of supporting and rehabilitating the human owners. I have seen so often the crusader spirit let loose, and already vulnerable people crushed. This does not help the animals, but merely gives the prosecuting side a smug sense of self-righteousness, which the general public, in their emotive ignorance, invariably applaud.
    The one area I think really does need to be addressed, however, is the long distance shipping of livestock destined for slaughter. They should be on the hook, not driven live over the Channel (nor via the ‘backdoor’ of the Irish Sea!!) across to Poland, southern Europe, or beyond! Such a ban was inconsistent with EU doctrine, so it didn’t happen. That could now change, and in my opinion, rightly so.

  3. June Romans
    December 13, 2017

    Well done, this is long overdue.
    I hope this will also mean an end to live export of all food animals, including horses. It should also mean a complete ban on non-stun slaughtering, which I think most people find abhorrent.

  4. Gary Lloyd-Coxhead
    December 13, 2017

    John, this is all very well but regular investigations by welfare groups has shown that current welfare regulations are being routinely abused by abbattoirs, particularly those involved in non-stun Halal slaughter. It is also well documented that ‘surplus’ halal products are sold into the mainstream food chain unlabelled despite being religiously slaughtered. This is a massive issue which the government refuses to address despite several petitions with very large numbers of signatories. The political class are seen as being hypocritical as they do not allow Halal meat in the commons restaurant yet they turn a blind eye to the same product being sold to the public by deceit.

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