Clamping down on animal cruelty

I participated in the debate on the Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill yesterday.

Several constituents contacted me to support it. I intended to, as I have long thought we need to do more to protect animals in our care and to punish those who think cruel abuse of animals is acceptable. We were told some harrowing stories of what cruel people have done to dogs in their care, deliberately injuring them for the warped amusement of the owner.

The Bill reinforces the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 giving the courts the right to impose a prison sentence of up to one year for a summary conviction and up to five years for a conviction on indictment. The aim is to provide a stronger deterrent to those thinking of being cruel to animals, and a more appropriate punishment to those who do serious and sustained harm to an animal.

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  1. Dominic
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    The law isn’t strong enough even after such changes.

    I have a dog. It is part of our family, akin to another child. I would lay down my life for my dog as I would my children and my wife. That may sound extreme but for those that don’t understand the beauty of a pet will never appreciate the importance of them to their owners

    Thanks for your efforts on this most important and under-reported issue

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Often misunderstood when dogs are stolen and recorded and treated simply as property. This crime is on the increase.

      • AlmostDead
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Sorry but in case you haven’t noticed…..dogs are property. Sorry if this is a shock

        • Al
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          I think the point Anonymous is making is that while dogs may legally be property, when a dog is stolen the police should not be recording it just as property theft but also as animal cruelty.

          And having seen some sentences for animal cruelty that felt trivially small for the offence, I am extremely grateful to our host for supporting the measure for longer sentences.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink


            The point I was making is that the legal definition of ‘property’ needs to be changed.

            The impact of a pet theft is one of extreme distress to an owner.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, thank you for your efforts on increased sentencing.
      However, it is not enough. The Tory Party, by a long way, has the weakest manifesto of all the main political parties on Animal Welfare.
      It is time to put the radical ideas of ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ at the heart of your Animal Welfare policies. It is time to stop using ‘tame-science’ as an excuse to do little. We don’t need double-speak of animals being ‘sentient beings’ or that policy needs to be ‘evidence-based’ – for its bloody obvious to man and beast that animals have feelings. We are sick and tired of monied interests being put ahead of the welfare of animals – if it is not kind, don’t do it.
      And it clearly is not kind to keep farm animals in any type of cage, to slaughter them mercilessly, to use animals for experiments, to kill them for pleasure, to prevent them from expressing natural behaviour, to destroy their habitats, etcetera.
      We need a cabinet minister appointed for Animal Welfare to drive through the many changes needed, across departments, to current government policy – and only then might Animal Welfare be treated seriously.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


      We have three dogs and feel exactly the same way.

      My sister has two dogs, one of which is from a rescue centre – a tri-coloured Welsh Border Collie that had been stabbed several times and left for dead in an alley somewhere near Milton Keynes a few years back. Fortunately, the fog was found and saved. The case gained much media attention at the time, and my sister who is a known animal lover was fortunate enough to be given permanent ownership shortly thereafter.

      I am a great believer in education to put potential offenders on the right path in the first instance, and backed up by proper deterrent sentences where the message fails. The sentences we presently have are not sufficient. Judging by the account given by Mike Graham this morning on Talk Radio about the appallingly lavish conditions that prevail in prisons, the liberal lefty do-gooders who have wormed their way into so many of society’s most influential positions and pressed for such luxuries have clearly got it all wrong (there’s surprise!)

      Where there exists the potential for animal cruelty, it can, and often does manifest itself in cruelty to people. We need to purge these scumbag people and stop them breeding!

  2. Shirley
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Let’s start with government approved cruelty, ie. non-stun slaughter. Millions of animals are killed this way in the UK (over 1m each day), and the numbers are increasing, not decreasing.

    The Halal stun is not a full stun and is proven to merely paralyse the animal without rendering it unconscious, similar to being tasered.

    Until the government legislates against this (as other EU countries have done, so it IS possible under EU law), then it’s just lip service, isn’t it!

    • Butties
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      Shirley no chance of HM Gov doing that I am afraid.

      “The Government encourages the highest standards of welfare at slaughter but respects the rights of Jewish and Muslim people to eat meat prepared according to their religion.” is their official response to one of the many petitions lodged to support your proposal.

      • Shirley
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        So why not restrict the sale of such meat to those who follow those religions? It’s becoming the dominant method of producing meat, for all citizens. Why do the government not respect the right of others to eat meat prepared in a humane way and allow us to comply with the law of the land?

        Labelling would be a good start, but there have been many petitions requesting this, all rejected by the Commons.

      • stred
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        It’s disgusting. Standards drop where political correctness rules.(words left out ed) I am not convinced that normal slaughter is always done without animals suffering. When we leave the EU we should allow the small local abattoirs to operate, possibly with a mobile unit on a trailer. And what about the cattle that are transported in trucks from Eire to Spain in all weather via the UK.

        • rose
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Roger Scruton talked on the wireless once about the EU having outlawed our little local abattoirs (by insisting on a highly paid vet at each) and thus greatly increased the suffering and risk of infection. Of course in Spain it only takes a year to train a vet so it is much cheaper.

        • James Bertram
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Table 1: UK live animal exports to the EU, 2016

          Cattle – 42,515
          For production – 60%
          For slaughter – 25%
          For breeding – 15%

          Pigs – 10,615
          For slaughter – 84%
          For breeding – 16%

          Sheep – 483,859
          For slaughter – 80%
          For production – 19%
          For breeding – 1%

          Goats – 1,198
          For breeding – 86% (14%?)
          For slaughter – 14% (86%?)

          Equidae – 16,931
          Registered horses – 81%
          Other purposes – 16%
          For breeding – 3%

          Source: European Commission, TRACES

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink


          ” When we leave the EU we should allow the small local abattoirs to operate, possibly with a mobile unit on a trailer. ”

          These local abattoirs were banned during the BSE crisis, nothing to do with the EU.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            Two questions, Margaret. Do you agree with the current policy about Halal meat and are you happy about the EU’s approach to animal welfare? I bet I don’t get an answer!

          • libertarian
            Posted July 12, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink


            “These local abattoirs were banned during the BSE crisis, nothing to do with the EU.”

            NO THEY WERE NOT

            The EU small abattoirs health directive came into force in 2008 thats 22 years AFTER the BSE crisis

            Anyone would think you hadn’t got a clue about the thing you voted for

      • APL
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        To paraphrase our great leader ( who hasn’t gone yet ) Theresa May.

        Many British animals benefit greatly from sharia law.

        • Hope
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          Hear hear Shirley. It is disgusting.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        Indeed the UK government would not dare to address or attack irrational belief systems and religious beliefs. Such beliefs are far safer than rational ones.

        They are even keen to create new religions like the climate alarmist religion. The NHS is the envy of the world religion. There are votes to be won n these areas.

        Hunt even went on about the five years in charge of the appalling NHS. Is he proud of his gross failure to do anything to sold out the appalling NHS and the endless deaths thus caused over this period still continuing? He must be mad to even mention it.

        Excellent piece by A Heath today.

        Wanted: an economic revolution to halt Britain’s slide towards recession
        In his first 100 days, Boris should launch his very own Big Bang by slashing taxes to boost growth.

        He should indeed he has to be bold but will the essentially socialist and remain Conservative Party MPs actually let him?

        • Stred
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          The NHS has refused treatment for varicose veins, skin growths that are non-cancerous and haemorroids from 1st of April. These conditions can be disabling and lead to cancer. How proud of that is Jeremy and his cheerful little chappie who took over? The private treatment cost two thousand quid.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 12, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            We need to encourage more to go privately with tax break or voucher to lighten the load on the NHS. It is not rocket science!

      • Chris Dark
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        And we also have the right to not eat that same meat, but are forced to because no-one will label the wretched stuff correctly. I am now being pushed towards vegetarianism in some food outlets because I can’t be sure how the animal has been killed, etc. The only safe stuff is pork and fish, it seems. The whole of the British population is being forced down down the Muslim/Jewish food route. (words left out ed) Religious food needs should never ever override animal welfare.

        • L Jones
          Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Yes, Chris – if people believe they should only consume halal meat, then let THEM go down the vegetarian route if they can’t get it.

          This from the Government’s website:
          ”You must stun all animals before you slaughter them unless an animal is being religiously slaughtered for halal or kosher meat…”
          In other words, you needn’t bother stunning any of them because only halal meat is acceptable in the market place, schools, etc.

          But this from an Australian site:
          ”Australian law dictates that all animals must be stunned so that they are insensible to pain prior to slaughter. However, there are exemptions given to a number of abattoirs (15+ as of 2011) to meet a small demand in Australia for religious slaughter (all kosher and some halal products)”
          The words ”a small demand” are notable.
          So why must WE pander to our minorities in this?

      • Al
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        “The Government encourages the highest standards of welfare at slaughter but respects the rights of Jewish and Muslim people to eat meat prepared according to their religion.”

        Sadly due to the lack of labelling, they fail to respect the rights of Sikhs, Humanists, and others to eat meat slaughtered in accordance with their religions, which prohibit eating meat slaughtered in a ritual fashion, and in other cases bar eating non-stun slaughter. Labels would solve a great many problems.

    • Sally
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      I do not agree with halal slaughter so I check the provenance of my meat carefully. I believe all halal meat should be very clearly labelled so the public can make an informed choice.
      If in doubt I buy organic as, as I understand it, they do not give organic status to animals killed via the halal method?

      • William Potter
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Sorry Sally but halal and kosher meat can be classed as organic if it meets all other conditions
        https www (dot) foodnavigator(dot) com (slash) Article (slash) 2018 (slash) 09 (slash) 26 (slash) Halal-and-kosher-meat-can-be-labelled-organic-ECJ

      • L Jones
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I’m sure that if mobile slaughterhouses were widely this would allow for the production of non-halal more easily. There would be a huge market for meat products labelled as such.

      • steve
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink


        Having been involved in the meat trade, I can tell you that slaughter must be carried out at an approved Slaughterhouse. Farmers are not allowed to slaughter. This is what went wrong.

        Your best bet where labelling is concerned is to check the packaging for ‘Kosha’ status…..if it is, then it’s been slaughtered (that way ed).

        As far as I’m aware packaging doesn’t necessarily have to say ‘Halal’ but if it says Kosha you should take that as definite.

      • rose
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        The halal symbol is tiny and almost invisible as well as in arabic. You will almost certainly miss it.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink


      • Stred
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Half of my family is Jewish and I don’t know anyone who would insist on their meat being slaughtered without proper stunning. The government is just chasing what they think is votes.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      The most up-to-date FSA figures show that between October 2017 to September 2018, over 120 million animals were slaughtered without pre-stunning, including:

      118 million meat poultry (11% of the total number of poultry slaughtered)
      3 million sheep and goats (25% of the total number of sheep and goats slaughtered)
      24 thousand cattle (1% of the total number of cattle slaughtered)

      Joint call to end non-stun slaughter
      06 February 2019:

      The RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association have joined forces to call on the UK Government to repeal a legal exemption that permits animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

      …BVA President Simon Doherty said: “The UK Government has repeatedly stated it would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter but has taken no action to address this critical welfare issue that affects millions of animals every year. It is doubly disappointing that data that would have provided a valuable benchmark for levels of non-stun slaughter in the UK has yet to see the light of day despite assurances throughout last year that it would soon be made public.

  3. formula57
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    The activities in slaughter houses should not be overlooked while doing more.

  4. agricola
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Yes I would go along with all you say. It is the same mindset that is cruel to children and vulnerable adults. The perpetrators have no place in a civilised society and my legal sanctions against such law breakers would be much harsher than proposed.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I have often wondered if those accused or convicted of animal cruelty have the propensity to be cruel to any helpless being. It’d be interesting to know how many have ‘previous’ for assault.

  5. J Bush
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    If the governments of the day feel they must respect slaughter of animals to respect “the rights of the Jewish and Muslim people”, this possibly, can only be made acceptable to the rest of the country, as long as it contains one proviso. It must be labelled as such. The rest of the people of this country must also be given the same right to decide if they want to eat this meat, or not.

    Why must schools and other public institutes feel obliged to conform to the suit the sensibilities of a minority and not give the majority the same rights?

    Why do the governments of the day keep pandering to minorities and increasingly refuse to respect the rights of the majority?

    This is yet another facet of why trust in the ‘establishment’ political parties is diminishing.

    • GilesB
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Good point about school meals.

      Children should protest about being only supplied meat from animals that haven’t been killed humanely

    • Shirley
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      “Why do the governments of the day keep pandering to minorities and increasingly refuse to respect the rights of the majority?”

      Well said. This is happening more and more in modern day Britain.

      ps. if it is possible to legislate for all ingredients to be listed on food items, then why not the labelling of ritually slaughtered meat? It wouldn’t affect the religions mentioned, but it would reduce the amount of ritually slaughtered meat sold to everyone else by stealth, and therefore go a long way towards respecting UK law and reduce cruelty.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    This is an area society should police, not government. Competition should dictate farming welfare if the food is tastier when treated better then good treatment will prevail. Treatment of pets can be policed by neighbourhoods.

    My taxes should be used more productively

  7. percy openshaw
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I heartily agree with the protection of defenceless, trusting animals in domestic care. However, I hope that the law is framed in such a way as to allow for medical experimentation on laboratory animals and scrupulously avoids criminalising necessary scientific procedure. It is regrettable, of course, that any creature should be subjected to suffering but in causes such as the cure of cancer or dementia or any of these scourges, it would seem to be required for the foreseeable future.

    • steve
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink


      “I hope that the law is framed in such a way as to allow for medical experimentation on laboratory animals”

      There is no need for these experiments. The reason why it still goes on is largely because research companies won’t exchange data with each other, share value is more important than humanity, you see. (and not forgetting the big fat final salary pensions of the researchers)

      • James Bertram
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Some facts and figures on animal testing:

        UK animal experiments
        According to the latest Government figures (for 2017), a total of 3.79 million experiments were completed in Great Britain during 2017.

        Of these, 1.90 million (50%) related to the creation or breeding of genetically altered animals who were not used in further experiments.

        The remaining 1.86 million (50%) were other experiments on animals, which included 600,000 animals (32%) that were subjected to experiments that even the researchers considered had caused them moderate or severe suffering.

        Only 13% of experiments were ones that were required by regulators

      • Stred
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Complete bollocks.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink


        Thanks for proving you know nothing about medical research

        Want to buy a tin foil hat?

        • hans chistian ivers
          Posted July 12, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink


          I hope you are well?

          Because I am worried about you , do you need assistance with your anger-management as it seems to be taking over?

          • libertarian
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


            You are the last person I would turn to for advice..

            I’m not angry I’m astounded that people like you have managed to build a career based on a complete ignorance of most of the real world

            Meanwhile I am involved with a business that has produced life saving drugs based on animal science . We are constantly attacked by ignorant idiots who think that animal science always involves cruelty or abuse of animals

            By the way you missed commenting on the one person on here that does need anger management , young Andy has been ranting again, yet strangely there was no comment from you at all. It seems you reserve your schoolteacher posts for just 3 posters. Why would that be hans?

  8. Kevin
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    The topic of cruelty reminds me that this past weekend saw the execution
    of Thomas More, in 1535. One of the worst “stitch-ups” in legal history, it was
    made possible by the passing of a rule that was itself a stitch-up, so the court
    might be able to “prove” that Thomas “broke the law”. A manifest injustice,
    yet, “This is England!”, goes the saying in Robert Bolt’s play. It surely is.

  9. margaret
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I simply do not understand why anyone thinks that cruelty to animals is acceptable.Anyone who condones these activities are not fit to be human animals themselves.

    • Stred
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      What about squashing ants and caterpillars?

      • margaret
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        What about killing lice and fleas? reduction is sometimes knowing when to collectively call the boundaries, however having said that I personally let out house flies do not kill anything which does not cause me discomfort.

        • margaret
          Posted July 12, 2019 at 4:38 am | Permalink

          flies and etc…

  10. Everhopeful
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    So will ritual slaughter be banned?
    And fireworks?
    And laboratory experiments?
    No? I thought not.
    And in fact without real police and a proper animal welfare force nothing will continue to be done about cutting off fighting dogs’ears etc.
    I doubt if it would be “sensitive” to police that.

  11. Ignoramus
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I hesitate before raising the EU, but it was the EU that banned slaughter of individual animals on small farms. It used to be possible for an animal to be humanely killed by a bolt gun shot to the brain in a field in the farm it knew without the trauma of transport and stench of death in a slaughter house.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Extremely good point.
      And many local ( less distance, less stress) slaughterhouses were shut down.
      As always EU handing over profit, via expensive regulations, to big business.
      Animal welfare last thing on their minds.
      Still I think they now want us to eat worms or something cos farm animals produce too much methane ( utter rot).
      So there soon will be no animals anyway.

      • Stred
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Come on Margaret. Argue against that.

  12. steve
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink


    May I suggest if you find our response to animal cruelty too frank, then perhaps you shouldn’t have opened such a discussion.

    Deleting our responses on this particular subject won’t do you any favours. Most decent people find animal cruelty abhorrent.

    Reply Yes, many of us find animal cruelty abhorrent. The piece is about legislation we approved this week to strengthen penalties for people who wound and kill dogs and cats in cruel ways. It is not about approved means of legally killing farm animals for meat. The legislation will not apply to that.

    • Thomas
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      “approved means of legally killing farm animals for meat”.

      In other words, cutting their throat while they’re still conscious.

      The law needs to be changed to make it ILLEGAL but let’s turn a blind eye to that, shall we?

    • Bill
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      “The legislation will not apply to that”. Yet another ‘half-a-job’ law created by our hopeless Government then. Do we need any further evidence of their lack of empathy with the British people and their blinding incompetence? Or were farm animals deliberately excluded for other reasons?

      Reply The law increases the penalties for criminal cruelty already defined i n law

      • Bill
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        How many cases have their been against abattoirs in recent years? Old religious practises should be closely monitored.

    • Mark
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Does it tackle the animal rights extremists who wish to eliminate pets and working animals?

  13. AlmostDead
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This is simply not an important topic for a conservative government to be engaged in. I don’t want to see more rules and regulations strangling my country. This is so low down the list of things I want the government to engaging in. I rather, we look to lower corporate income tax to zero than this. What a waste of time.

    Reply It is important. We did not add any regulations, but beefed up penalties for cruelty that is already illegal

    • steve
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink


      “We did not add any regulations, but beefed up penalties for cruelty that is already illegal”

      Fair enough. A deterrent that doesn’t do the job isn’t really a deterrent.

    • Stred
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Beefed up might be an unfortunate phrase. Too many prospective vegetarians here.

  14. libertarian
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Andy, Newmania, Margaret Howard

    Any thoughts on this? You know the EU approved transport of live animals for slaughter, Fois Gras, the “sports” of cow stabbing and Spanish pony wrestling etc and the effective banning of small humane abattoirs .

    I guess using your logic you are supporters of all these practices

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Their silence, as always, is far more illuminating than their contributions.

    • Oh Danny Boy
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Have a look online, if you have the stomach, at how the Spanish treat hunting dogs once they have outlived their usefulness.

    • steve
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink


      “I guess using your logic you are supporters of all these practices”

      Any proponent of the EU is, but most of them probably never heard of the Spanish ‘sports’ you mention. You know, Liberals and their rose coloured specs, oblivious to all the crap around them.

    • Andy
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I am a vegetarian – no meat, no fish – and have been for 30 years. So long before it became fashionable.

      I find cruelty to animals abhorrent – but I also find the double standards involved abhorrent too.

      If you cared for animals you would not eat meat. However the poor creature dies it is still dying for your gratification.

      Most people could not kill an animal themselves. If you could not kill it, you should not eat it.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Well raised animals. They get a right to a decent life and they are killed as humanely as possible. Far more humanely than most humans get, left to linger over weeks or months.

        A short, sweet life. Better than not to have lived at all.

    • hans chistian ivers
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink


      you are getting carried away again, Why?

  15. mancunius
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Without denying that cruelty to animals is a serious matter, as it also corrupts human nature, I would suggest that the deliberate and wilful ending of a human life is a far more serious matter. And yet you let a whole slew of idealogues interfere in the devolved affairs of Northern Ireland by casually imposing a ministerial SI on extremely controversial matters such as abortion ‘rights’, and gay marriage ‘rights’. Another political victory for Sinn Fein, as was the fixed intentionof the Labour MPs who brought and supported the motions.

    These matters have never been approved by a UK referendum, nor tested at a General Election. They are utterly contentious throughout the country. They are always (rather conveniently) regarded as ‘matters of conscience’ by MPs. But they are political matters, and conscience was replaced yesterday by the wilful political manipulation of NI, putting in jeopardy the DUP support of the government.

    And yet you and many others on the Conservative benches did not vote to defend the NI settlement. I cannot understand that at all.

    Reply Believing these are devolved matters for NI I observed that by not voting on these NI issues

  16. ukretired123
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    How we treat vulnerable living creatures is a litmus test of our humanity and compassion.
    Holy Cows respected on roads in India compares with the notion of “road-kill” wildlife and blood-sports in the West.
    Whilst Buddhists treasure all living sentient beings similar to Hindus there are many folks who sadly do not. Britain and Ireland have a tradition of both educating people about protecting “our dumb friends” ( as they were once labelled) unlike some other countries sadly.
    Globalisation brings both the best and worst of all things in the world and steamrollers many British values of unchecked. An example was the killing of swans to eat!
    Mistreatment of animals can easily lead to mistreatment of humans next, that’s why it is a key litmus test and needs a strong deterrent.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Sorry, UKretired123, but some of these comments are naive. Travelling in South Asia you’ll find some of the most appalling neglect of animals possible. Dogs injured in road accidents will be left dying with broken backs, unable to move, for weeks. This is because Buddhists won’t accept euthanasia. Like halal meat, it is the same problem of religious principle being put ahead of an animal’s suffering. [‘Note: Too, in impoverished societies, where there is little kindness to humans, there is even less kindness to animals; and little government direction. However, some individuals hold out against this, and as a more heart-warming episode, I noted in Malawi a legless beggar sharing his meagre food with the sparrows.]

      • ukretired123
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Not naive, as I too have lived in Liberia, Kenya, Jamaica and seen bodies left on streets because legal liability if you move them.
        Buddhists try to enlighten folks how to avoid suffering which surely is a noble cause. How it is interpreted is up to you.

        • James Bertram
          Posted July 12, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, ukretired123, but my comment comes from personal experience in Sri Lanka. Buddhist vets will not euthanise animals. Nor will the police shoot them. The local people protest, even riot, if there is any attempt to put the animal out of its misery. Suffering animals are taken away by the council animal catcher in the dust cart and thrown on the council dump alive to die. Nothing noble about this.

          • ukretired123
            Posted July 15, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Sad to hear your experience and the extremes of Buddhist interpretation in Sri Lanka and also Myanmar which have civil war complications unlike most here in the West.

  17. BR
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The proposed change is good, but it doesn’t go far enough.

    – The sentences are far too lenient.
    – The enforcement of sanctions is almost non-existent (such as: cannot own a pet for 10 years).
    – The funding of animal welfare and policing it is far too low.

    • Mark
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The RSPCA only has itself to blame for reduced donations.

  18. margaret howard
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    There is no such thing as ‘humane’ animal slaughter. Meat is murder.

    I spent many summer holidays on a farm where I observed the slaughter of animals and I can assure you that they know what is happening to them, even such ‘dim’ animals as cows. Pigs will squeal and try and run away. It is barbaric.

    The very idea of consuming the flesh of another mammal is horrible and if people stopped to think the function ‘offal’ like kidneys and liver performs in the animals they would never ever eat it again.

    • Stred
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Meat is very important for brain development. Humans are omnivorous.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 11, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink


        Half a billion people from the Indian sub continent are vegetarians. Humans don’t need meat to survive especially today with so many other food sources available to us.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 12, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink


          Is there no subject on which you are ignorant?

          Rising population, incomes and urbanisation will drive a 78 percent increase in meat and seafood demand from 2017 to 2050 in South Asia , according to a report by Asia Research and Engagement Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based consultancy firm.

          The vegetarianism of which you speak isn’t a choice in south asia its a lack of available meat !

          Humans like most mammals are meat eaters , its the natural food chain . A vegetarian and vegan diet is incredibly unhealthy

  19. Mark
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    You recently ran an article on electric cars. Unintended by their failure to become mass market items, I see that the government now plan to force all shipping to be zero emissions after 2025 according to a Reuters report

    Once again, no debate and no consideration of the impracticalities. Presumably the intention is to shut down all trade unless it comes via a dedicated fleet of cross Channel vessels, and to have the Navy return to base to plug in before it’s batteries run out, with the exception of nuclear submarines. Utterly crazy.

    • Mark
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


      I hate tablet word replacements!

    • Stred
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      They plan to make British shipping use Hydrogen.

      • APL
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        Stred: “They plan to make British shipping use Hydrogen.”

        Fortunately, as a result of government policy over the last sixty years, we hardly have a merchant fleet anyway.

      • Mark
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        The plan applies to all shipping visiting British ports. So there will need to be a dedicated fleet to trade into the UK, with a short voyage to somewhere where normal ships can transship.

    • sm
      Posted July 11, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      One assumes the Government has been successfully lobbied by the canvass, rope and sail-making businesses.

  20. Iain Gill
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    All the government seems to be doing is clamping down on freelancers with more IT35 nonsense.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      This “Conservative” government hate self employed, micro, and small business with a vengeance. It is why they launch so many repeated attacks on us. They detest independence . They won’t rest until everyone depends on a crony capital multinational or the government

  21. APL
    Posted July 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    JR: “I participated in the debate on the Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill yesterday.”

    Very laudable the debate may have been too.

    But what about the in-humane cruelty some groups have inflicted on young girls in our inner cities, like Birmingham, Manchester, Rotherham, Bristol, Oxford, et al, ad nauseam.

    You and your colleagues in Parliament ( with one or two honourable exceptions ) are silent on this topic. Why would that be?

    Reply Parliament has legislated to protect people, and given the courts power to impose suitable penalties where these offences are proven in court.

    • agricola
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      However the terror of legislators and almost all bodies tasked with child welfare in the face of political correctness and the multicultral society has allowed this appaling form of cruelty to children to persist.

      • agricola
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Maggie Oliver has published a very accurate piece on it in The Mail today Friday.

    • APL
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      I see our brave parliamentarian has chosen not post my reply to his.

      What a bunch of snakes, all of ’em.

      We’re paying good money for this rabble!

  22. agricola
    Posted July 12, 2019 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    One area of cruelty to dogs in particular is inflicted with impunity by the criteria of judges of organisasions (running dog shows ed) The criteria creates some breeds with breathing problems and others with physical and mental problems due to too much interbreeding. This is an area that needs to come under the law and not left to the questionable decisions of dog show judges.

  23. Newmania
    Posted July 12, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    So which way will you be voting on the Fox Hunting Ban then ? Here is an example of sustained cruel and primitive animal torture and , judging form our comments you would like its followers sent to prison.

    Reply I do not want changes to the fox hunting law and do not expect proposals to cone forward to be voted on.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 12, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Sir, John – this reply is naive, at best. The fox hunting law needs to be strengthened (just as you have strengthened the law on animal cruelty prison sentences) so as to make sure it is properly enforced in spirit as well as in practice. It should not be ‘fun’ to kill animals.

      This is well explained on the League Against Cruel Sports website. They recommend seven amendments to the 2004 Hunting Act:
      1. The use of dogs below ground should be prohibited.
      2. A ‘reckless’ provision should be inserted to stop hunters using the false alibi of trail hunting
      3. Sentencing powers should be increased.
      4. Removing the Observation and Research exemption that has been systematically abused by stag hunts.
      5. An extension of the available time to charge suspects with breaching the Act.
      6. Application of ‘vicarious liability’ to cover the employers and landowners of those in breach of the Act.
      7. The reversal of burden of proof in “exempt hunting” cases.

      As I said previously, if the Government was to put ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ at the heart of its Animal Welfare policy, then this strengthening legislation would be put forward and passed immediately.

      I hope you now do want changes to the fox hunting law.

      • agricola
        Posted July 12, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Given the glut of foxes and deer, how do you prolose to control them. Shoot them or introduce an alien species to predate on them. Get used to it, nature is not the pretty array of animals shown to us so well by David Attenborough, it is a menu mostly for the benefit of animals.

        • James Bertram
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          Agricola – yes, there is a need to cull foxes and deer. Shooting is often the most practical method (usually involves lamping or baiting them first). Wolves (and Lynx) might be used in future in rewilded uplands (historically, they are not an ‘alien’ species).
          What should not be confused in anyone’s mind is that, just because fox and deer numbers need to be controlled and culled, then Mankind should somehow take enjoyment from the process of their killing and turn it into a sport. Nor is hunting with dogs an efficient way to kill these animals, a very protracted and cruel method; too, it disturbs much other wildlife in the countryside.
          There is no excuse for bloodsports, Agricola. It is just not ‘kind’.

  24. Tom Rogers
    Posted July 12, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    More state intervention in private life. More powers for the state. More intrusiveness. I thought you were supposed to be conservatives?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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