NI: Greens criticise animal cruelty laws as ‘far from adequate’

Steven Agnew
Steven Agnew

Northern Ireland’s laws on animal cruelty are “far from adequate” and sentencing is not acting as a deterrent, according to the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

Party leader Steven Agnew said the “grave failing” of animal welfare laws in Northern Ireland needed to be addressed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

He said: “The Attorney General has stated that he feels sentencing available acts as a deterrent, yet the high number of cases we have seen since January of this year do not appear to reflect this.

“Starving a dog to death for example, which causes immense and prolonged suffering, and requires a deliberate and conscious decision every single day to not feed the animal, has seen a range of sentences from community service, Conditional Discharges and Suspended Sentences.”

Mr Agnew added: “All powers on animal welfare are devolved to Northern Ireland, which has the unfortunate distinction of being the only remaining region in the United Kingdom where no restrictions on fox hunting exist.

“In 2010, the Green Party attempted to introduce a ban via a Private Member’s Bill, but no other party was willing to support the proposals – one DUP MLA even went as far as describing the debate a ‘waste of Assembly time and resources’.

“It is ironic that the DUP seeks to position itself as a champion of animal welfare, but only for pets. If they are genuine in their concern in preventing animal cruelty, then it needs to be extended to include wild animals.

“Ripping apart foxes with hounds is neither sporting, nor a necessary form of pest control. It is pure, unadulterated cruelty and needs to end.”

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