Animal fighting sentencing
Email Campaign

I understand the seriousness of animal abuse and I share your concern about the appalling cruelty in animal fighting. I can also assure you that this Government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, was reviewed by the Parliamentary Select Committee for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) last year. The Committee did not recommend increasing the maximum penalties available to the courts. There are, therefore, no proposals to increase the penalties for cases of animal cruelty.

The Government considers that existing maximum penalties of a fine of 20,000 and six months imprisonment are appropriate. The courts must decide what the penalty should be for each case taking into account its individual circumstances and the Sentencing Council Guidelines. Sentencing is ultimately a matter for the Sentencing Council and of course, like all matters, this is kept under review.

I believe that what really matters is enforcement of the existing laws and I have passed to the West Mercia Constabulary reports of local incidents whenever they have been brought to my attention.

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