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The Animal (Penalty Notices) Bill is a Private Member’s Bill that was introduced to the House of Commons on 16 June 2021 by Andrew Rosindell. It aims to introduce new, financial penalties for animal health and welfare offences of up to £5,000. The Government says this will “create a new system of proportionate, consistent, and targeted financial penalties for breaches of animal health, biosecurity, and welfare regulations”. 

The Bill had its second reading on 29 October 2021 and its committee stage on 8 December. It has Government support and extends to England and Wales.

“Targeted approach” to protecting animals

In a press release in support of the legislation, the Government said the penalties could be given to people who have “cruelly mistreated pets, zoo animals and livestock”:

These new penalties will provide the authorities with an additional enforcement measure to be used alongside warnings and criminal prosecution. These penalties will introduce a more consistent and targeted approach to protecting all animals from harm.

The RSPCA has also supported the Bill, saying the penalties would “provide better safeguards for all animals”. It set out how it envisaged the proposals improving efforts to stop animal cruelty:

We hope these enforcement notices will serve as a good deterrent to those causing suffering to animals and also an important education tool to prevent them repeating their mistakes in the future.

The Government recently supported another Private Member’s Bill, put forward by Chris Loader, which increased the maximum sentence for certain animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 came into force on 29 June 2021.

The Bill has not been amended to date. It returns for report stage and third reading in the Commons on 4 February 2022.

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