Tougher punishments for animal abusers under consideration

The "full force of the law" should be used to deal with those committing the worst offences.
The "full force of the law" should be used to deal with those committing the worst offences.
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Animal abusers guilty of the "very worst behaviour" could face tougher punishments, according to Michael Gove.

The Environment Secretary told MPs he is "actively reviewing" the penalties issued for animal cruelty.

He added the "full force of the law" should be used to deal with those committing the worst offences.

In the last parliament, the Conservative majority government blocked Labour MP Anna Turley's bid to ensure a prison sentence of up to five years in the most serious of cruelty cases.

Her Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill was put forward after government figures showed the average prison term for someone convicted of animal cruelty was 3.3 months in England and Wales.

Speaking in the Commons, Tory MP Philip Davies (Shipley) asked: "Will the Government commit to increase the penalties for people convicted of animal cruelty?"

Mr Gove replied: "It's something I'm actively reviewing.

"As you know, I'm not someone who will automatically reach for stronger criminal sanctions as the only route to dealing with a particular problem.

"But there are particular cases of animal cruelty where we may well need to revisit the existing criminal sanctions in order to ensure that the very worst behaviour is dealt with by the full force of the law."