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Gloucestershire Business News

Tougher sentences for animal cruelty offences

Tough new laws have come into force which could see anyone who commits animal cruelty offences facing a five-year prison sentence.

The new laws, announced by Defra Secretary Michael Gove, come just days after new welfare laws were announced for people who run animal related businesses.

And that follows hot on the heels of the high-profile case of the Cotswold farmer fined for allowing his pigs access to waste meat products new laws.

A decision to introduce tougher sentences results from a consultation, which gained the support of animal welfare groups, and a desire to law down new legislation before the UK leaves the EU.

Previously the maximum sentence which could have been faced for a serious offence would have been six months.

The draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill went out to consultation in December 2017.

It was a process which also aimed to ensure UK domestic law reflects animal 'sentience' (an animal's ability to perceive and feel things) when the UK leaves the EU.

Cotswold pig farmer Clive Lockton, of New Road Farm, Todenham, was ordered to carry out 15 days community service over the next 12 months. He was disqualified from keeping cattle and pigs for a period of five years, stipulating this could not be appealed for a period of two years.

Mr Lockton was also ordered to pay £350 towards the prosecution costs, with a further £135 victim surcharge bringing the total to £485.

Read more: Farmer admits keeping pigs and cattle in appalling conditions

Read more: New laws come into effect for businesses involving animals 

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