Animal abusers in the UK face £5,000 on the spot fine under new animal welfare bill

Author: Helen Greaves

Read Time:   |  8th February 2022

A new animal welfare bill that will protect pets, farmed animals, and zoo animals from abuse is on its way to becoming law in the UK.

A recently proposed animal welfare bill, The Animal (Penalty Notices) Bill, has taken another step towards becoming part of UK law this week.

Romford Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell’s private member’s bill has won the backing of the Commons and will now be scrutinised in the Lords.

If passed, the new law will mean hefty on the spot fines of £5,000 for people who mistreat pets, livestock, or zoo animals in the UK.

Along with government support, the bill also has the support of the RSPCA which stated that the penalties would “provide better safeguards for all animals.”

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of the RSPCA, said, “Fixed penalty notices are really useful to quickly combat suffering of farmed animals, horses and animals kept in zoos.

“We are pleased that enforcement bodies will be given powers and revenue from these fines in order to safeguard animal welfare should this bill become law.

“We hope these enforcement notices will serve as a good deterrent to those causing suffering to animals and also an important education tool to prevent them repeating their mistakes in the future.

“These penalties, used in conjunction with tougher sentences which are coming into force soon, will provide better safeguards for all animals.

“We wholeheartedly support Andrew Rosindell’s Bill, are pleased to see it has Government backing and hope it progresses through parliament quickly.”

The introduction of The Animal (Fixed Penalty) Bill

The bill is a private member’s bill that was introduced to the House of Commons on 16 June 2021 with Government support.

Introducing his bill, Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford said, “In my 20 years as an M.P. I have consistently fought for animal welfare. 

“Society should rightly be judged by how it treats the animals in its care but for many years, E.U. regulations limited the improvements that could be made.

Now that we have left the E.U. we have an unrivalled opportunity to make the changes that are so desperately needed. That means stronger sentences for the worst animal abusers under Chris Loder’s historic legislation.

“It also means ensuring there are no gaps in legislation that animal abusers can exploit, by committing offences too severe for a warning, but not severe enough for prosecution.

“My Bill will close that gap, creating fines of up to £5,000 while always being clear that criminal prosecution will always be used for the most serious offences.”

During the second reading of the bill on 29th October, Rosindell said, “for the most severe crimes, criminal prosecution will always be the most appropriate course of action”. 

He said the provisions in the Bill are aimed at “offences [which] can occur without the presence of ill will or due to a genuine mistake”. He gave the example of transgressions relating to the recording of livestock movements.

Support for the new animal welfare bill 

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said, “Animal cruelty has no place in our society and this Government is committed to ensuring those who abuse animals are subject to the full force of the law.

“These new fines will build on our actions to improve our already world-leading animal welfare standards, including raising the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty to five years.

“I want to commend Andrew Rosindell MP for introducing this important Bill and I look forward to working with him as it progresses through Parliament.”

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Written by

Helen Greaves

Helen Greaves

Helen has been vegan since 2018 and has a background in vegan food marketing and social media. She's mother to a mischief of rats, and loves to spend her spare time making vegan cakes and bakes.

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