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City MP backs call for action on animal cruelty during the lockdown

Labour has today called for the Government to take action on animal cruelty, with fears that there has been spike due to the lockdown.

Stephen Morgan MP has backed the Shadow Environment Secretary’s letter to his opposite number, the Environment Secretary, putting pressure the Government to deliver on a long-awaited increase of sentences for those found convicted of animal cruelty.

The RSPCA reported at the end of April that, since the Government announced the lockdown on Monday 23 March, their animal rescuers had already dealt with 21,137 incidents of animal cruelty and suffering animals which needed help.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Stricter sentences for animal abusers are long overdue. The point of parliament returning amid Covid-19 is so we can get important legislation like this sorted.

The fact animal abuse has grown amid this pandemic only enhances the need for government to do something about it. It would be a great loss of time, taxpayer’s money and resources if all the progress on this is lost so far.

We must send a strong message to all those who mistreat their pets that parliament will not waver when it comes paving the way for stricter penalties. I join colleagues in calling on government to seize control of this bill and show leadership in combating the abuse of animals.”

Due to Parliament sitting for fewer days because of the coronavirus crisis there is a real risk that the Private Members Bill that would increase prison sentences from the current six months to five years will fall.

This is because there are not enough sitting days that will consider private members bills between now and the expected Queen’s Speech in the autumn. Luke Pollard has asked the Government to take control of the existing Private Member’s Bill and adopt it as a Government Bill, to make sure it becomes law.

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, said:

“Increasing prison sentences for animal cruelty enjoys strong cross-party support but this bill has been delayed and delayed again. With the lockdown making this measure urgent, we are calling on the Government to ensure this measure becomes law urgently.

“We cannot have more dither and delay – it is our duty to make sure all pets are protected, and the Government must act now or more animals will suffer.”