The Southend West MP has called on the Government to reform animal cruelty sentencing and introduce tougher laws to ensure those convicted are banned from keeping animals in future.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday 13th June, Sir David raised a recent case where individuals convicted of feeding live fox cubs to hounds were given a 16-week suspended sentence and were not banned from keeping animals in future. Currently, fewer than one in 10 people convicted of animal cruelty offences have been jailed and there is no mandatory ban on keeping animals.
Sir David asked the Leader of the House to 'find time for a debate on strengthening the law on people who are found guilty of animal cruelty? I am sure the whole House was shocked at the recent hunt where someone was found guilty of feeding fox cubs to the hounds, yet that person can still keep animals. The law should certainly be changed.'
The Leader of the House, Mel Stride, replied 'May I first pay full tribute to my hon. Friend for all the extremely effective and important campaigning that he does on animal cruelty? I should point out that the Government have taken this matter extremely seriously. We have increased the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. We have introduced CCTV coverage in slaughterhouses, and we have taken action on puppy farms and online sales of young dogs. The debate that my hon. Friend requests would perhaps be a good one for the Backbench Business Committee.'