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MPs to debate pet theft petitions
The petitions calls to make pet theft a specific criminal offence.
Hundreds of thousands backed calls to make pet theft a specific criminal offence.

Two petitions relating to pet theft are set to be debated in parliament on Monday (19 October).

Petitions Committee member Tom Hunt MP (Ipswich) will lead the debate, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sending a Minister to respond.

The first petition, entitled 'Pet Theft Reform: Amend animal welfare law to make pet theft a specific offence' received more than 117,000 signatures. It states: “We propose to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to make pet theft a specific offence, distinct from that of inanimate objects; and in sentencing, the courts must consider the fear, alarm or distress to the pet and owners and not monetary value.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “Current sentencing guidelines takes account of the emotional distress that the theft of personal items such as a much-loved pet can have on victims, and recommend higher penalties for such offences.”

The second petition, 'Make pet theft crime a specific offence with custodial sentences', received more than 143,000 signatures. It states: “Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.”

In response to the petition, the Government said: “The sentencing guidelines now take account of the emotional distress and harm that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim and recommends higher penalties for such offences.”

The debate starts at 16.30 and will last 90 minutes, during which MPs will be able to question government ministers directly on these issues. To watch the debate online, visit

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit 

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News Shorts
Bristol Vet School announces new PhD Studentship opportunities

Bristol Veterinary School has announced four new PhD Studentship opportunities with a focus on cattle welfare. The projects include:

Developing a novel approach to improve the welfare of dairy cows; The impact of early life programming on resistance to helminths in ruminant livestock; The impact of change and the ability to deal with it on an individual's affective state and welfare; Harnessing 3D cameras and deep learning for on-the-fly automated body condition and mobility analysis to improve cattle welfare.

For more details and how to apply, visit the University of Bristol's website.