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Animal sentencing Bill completes Commons stage
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has complete its final stage in the House of Commons and will now move to the House of Lords.
New legislation would increase the maximum prison sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years.

Animal welfare charities are celebrating a landmark move after the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill completed its final stage in the House of Commons on Friday (12 March).

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home welcomed the progress but called on the government to complete the Bill's passage in the House of Lords before the end of this parliamentary term.

The animal welfare charity launched its campaign to increase maximum prison sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years in 2017. It has since garnered the support of other welfare organisations, more than 60,000 members of the public and cross-party MPs.

The Bill was first introduced to parliament in February 2020 by Chris Loder MP - has now passed its Third Reading following a protracted delay.

Battersea’s interim chief executive, Peter Laurie, said: “It’s encouraging to see real progress being made to make five-year sentences a reality. Now the Bill moves onto the House of Lords, I urge the Government to keep up the momentum and make this the law before the end of the current parliamentary term. Any further delays are unacceptable.”

The RSPCA – which has also long-campaigned for a change – said the Welsh government is expected to put a legislative consent motion before the Welsh parliament. This means that any change in the law in England would likely apply in Wales, too. 

Heidi Allen, RSPCA director of advocacy and policy, welcomed the move: “We’re thrilled that the Sentencing Bill is now one step closer to being introduced and that, soon, animals will be better protected and courts will have stronger sentences at their disposal when passing judgement on the worst animal abusers.

“We believe all parties wish to get the Bill onto the statute book in this parliamentary session - before the next Queen’s Speech which is expected in May - because MPs and Peers agree with us that no suffering animal can afford to wait another minute."

She added: “It’s time the sentences imposed on individuals who cause pain and suffering to animals reflect the severity of the crimes they are committing because current sentences available are completely inadequate.”

Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and much of Europe have already increased their maximum jail terms for animal cruelty to five years.

In England, the Bill must now clear the same stages in the House of Lords before the end of the current parliamentary term in May to pass into law.

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VetCT app offered to students and new graduates

News Story 1
 The VetCT app is being offered for free to students and new veterinary graduates for their first three months in practice. The app provides a service for vets to send case information to a global team of Diploma-holding specialists, who can provide advice and support via instant call-back, text chat, written report, or virtual appointment.

Time on the app is automatically logged as CPD with quarterly certificates being generated for users. Additional services include the ability to book bespoke CPD, significant event reviews, and live training sessions such as surgical procedures.

The app is downloadable for both iOS and Android systems. 

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HORIBA to host CPD webinar

HORIBA has announced that it will host an online CPD meeting focusing on 'Exotic Parasites - The Importance of Testing in The Imported Dog'. Ian Wright (BVMS, MSc, MRCVS), head of ESCCAP UK and Ireland, will present on the importance of testing protocols in diseases of imported dogs.

The meeting will provide attendees with an overview of emerging veterinary diseases with a particular focus on exotic parasites, and discuss the importance of accurate testing protocols and equipment, alongside a final Q&A session.

The webinar will take place on Thursday July 1, from 19.30pm to 21.00pm BST. For free registration and more information visit the Horiba website or register.gotowebinar.com