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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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Zoo calls for volunteers in its hour of need

News Story 1
 As ZSL London Zoo begins to get back on its feet, the organisation is putting out a call for volunteers who have time to help out. It comes after three months of unprecedented closure, which has seen zoos across the UK come under enormous financial pressure.

Volunteers will be required to commit to a minimum of half a day each fortnight, helping to assist zoo visitors as they make their way around. Volunteer manager Rhiannon Green said: "We need cheery, flexible people who can help visitors enjoy their day while respecting the measures that keep everyone safe.

For more information, visit zsl.org. Posts are available at both London and Whipsnade Zoos. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."