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MPs back animal cruelty sentencing reforms
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill will receive its second reading in June.

‘Loder’s Law’ will increase maximum jail term from six months to five years

People who abuse animals could soon face up to five years in prison after the government announced its support for the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill.

West Dorset MP Chris Loder introduced the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill in Parliament on Wednesday (5 February). The Bill - also known as ‘Loder’s Law’ - will see maximum prison sentences for the most serious cruelty cases increase from six months to five years.

The Bill will receive its second reading on Friday, 12 June. If passed, it will come into effect two months after it receives Royal Assent. Mr Loder, who is an advocate of high animal welfare, says that his dog Poppy is part of his inspiration for the Bill:

“I was shocked to learn that in 2019 the RSPCA investigated more than 130,700 complaints of cruelty against animals and secured 1,678 convictions. I believe tougher sentencing will act as a greater deterrent against the worst examples of animal cruelty,” he said.

“We are renowned as a nation of animal lovers and Britain needs to lead the world on animal welfare legislation. Indeed I rescued my own dog Poppy; a springer spaniel, who was abandoned as a puppy at the roadside, and she is part of the inspiration for me introducing this Bill.”

A 2017 government consultation revealed 70 per cent of people supported proposals for tougher prison sentences. If the Bill is passed, courts will be able to take a more stringent approach to cruelty to domestic pets or the gross neglect of farm animals.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers said: “There is no place in this country for animal cruelty, which is why I am delighted the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill is being introduced to parliament to raise prison terms for the worst abusers. It is a crucial piece of legislation which will help deter criminals and will ensure robust and appropriate action is taken if they are found guilty.

“I want to thank Chris Loder MP and all those who have campaigned for this Bill, for introducing it today. The Government will continue to support it as it makes its way through Parliament. This Bill builds on all the work this government is doing to raise the bar on animal welfare even further, including our forthcoming consultation on ending excessively long journeys for live animals and call for evidence on the welfare of primates as pets amongst others.”

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.