Published: 09:05, 07 May 2021
| Updated: 13:07, 07 May 2021
An MP has welcomed tougher prison sentences for animal cruelty.
These will come into force this summer after the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill received Royal Assent.
This new law allows courts to take a firmer approach to dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, illegally cropping a dog’s ears and gross neglect of farm animals.
It raises the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years .
Dover and Deal MP, Natalie Elphicke, said: “This new law makes good on our commitments to improve animal welfare and tackle animal cruelty.
"The more stringent sentences will be some of the toughest in Europe.
“The Government has also confirmed that it will be bringing forward legislation later this year to end live animal exports for fattening and slaughter, following a formal consultation on this.
"I spoke in Parliament this week to welcome the Government’s action on live animal exports.
"I have spoken this week to Irish Ferries, who have recently announced they will be operating from the Port of Dover, and they have confirmed to me that they have no intention of carrying any live animals that are destined for fattening or slaughter on the Dover /Calais route.
"It is a disgusting practice that has been driven from Dover and must never be allowed to return.”
DFDS, which runs routes from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk, says it has for years, voluntarily, not been involved in live animal exports.
It says it takes into account the welfare of animals on board.
A spokesman said:“Our policy is that we do not currently transport livestock for slaughter on our routes and we have no plans to do so.”
P&O Ferries has had a policy not to export livestock from Dover for fattening or slaughter since 2007.