Early in 2017, the UK government committed to reforming the maximum penalty for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. It took nearly four years to pass the law, but it has been fixed since Thursday: People who cause animal suffering in England unnecessarily will face much higher penalties in the future. The prison sentence was extended for a maximum of six months to imprisonment for up to five years for the most serious crimes.
With the reform, England is following the example of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Convicted animal abusers can already be imprisoned there for up to five years. As the last part of the UK, Wells is expected to follow soon.
A milestone for animal welfare
Animal rights activists are celebrating the new law as a huge success and a milestone in the history of animal welfare. “We are delighted that the animals have finally been acquired.” Chris Sherwood, head of the UK’s largest animal welfare organization, RSPCA, said, “Harsh punishments will be more deterrent and will help us put an end to animal abuse once and for all.”
The law is expected to take effect this year.
The lightest camel is in Germany and Austria
In Austria and Germany, too, acts of animal torture can lead to imprisonment – but the maximum penalty is much lower than that which threatens the UK in the future: the maximum sentence in Germany is three years, in Austria two years.