* In the last Parliamentary Session, the following Public Bill Committees concluded their consideration of the Bill earlier than scheduled: Criminal Finances, Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts), Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs), Neighbourhood Planning, Savings (Government Contributions), Technical and Further Education, Commonwealth Development Corporation, Children & Social Work, National Citizen Service, and Bus Services.
Aims of the Bill
Animal welfare is a devolved matter. For England and Wales, a range of legislation on animal welfare was consolidated under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to domesticated animals, or any animals under the control of man. The maximum penalty under the Act is currently a six-month sentence and/or an unlimited fine.
In 2016 the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences in Northern Ireland under the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 was increased to five years, following the recommendations of a review of the implementation of the Act. The Scottish Government consulted in February 2019 on increasing the maximum sentence from one to five years under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. The Environmental Food And Rural Affairs Select Committee carried out an enquiry into domestic pet welfare in 2016. One of its recommendations was that maximum sentences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 should be increased to five years. The Government did not support the proposal at the time.
However, following a number of serious animal welfare prosecutions, the Government announced in September 2017, that it intended to increase the maximum sentence to five years. It published draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill in December 2017 for consultation. Following this, the Government decided that it would legislate for increased sentences as soon as parliamentary time became available, whilst continuing to work further on animal sentience proposals.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was published on 26 June 2019. Second Reading in the Commons will take place on 9 July 2019 . The Bill would increase the maximum penalty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the most serious animal cruelty offences in England and Wales from six months to five years.
Follow the progress of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill 2017-19 (HC Bill 410) was published on 26 June 2019. The Second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons was held on Wednesday 10 July 2019.
This Bill has now been committed to a Public Bill Committee and is expected to hold oral evidence sessions on the morning of Tuesday 23 July 2019. The Public Bill Committee must conclude by 2.00pm on Thursday 25 July.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
Deadline for written evidence submissions
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration, and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.
The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 23 July 2019; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 25 July 2019. Please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 2.00pm on Thursday 25 July 2019.
Your submission should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.