A long awaited victory for animals is finally here

On 29 April 2021, we celebrated a milestone victory for animal welfare and we couldn't have done it without you. After years of dedicated campaigning from our national RSPCA colleagues and supporters, the UK Government has passed the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill in England.

The UK will now boast a law which will transform animal welfare by increasing sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years.

Now that the Bill has completed all stages in the Houses of Parliament and has received Royal Assent, this means that animal abusers convicted under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 could face up to five years in prison.

This means that animals who have suffered unbearable, unnecessary cruelty at the hands of human beings, will finally get the justice they deserve.

This brings us in line with the rest of the UK

In 2017, the UK Government pledged to reform the maximum sentence for those prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act, receiving support from cross-party politicians. This bill was brought forward by MP Chris Loder and Lord Randall of Uxbridge as a Private Members' Bill in June 2019.

We were overjoyed to welcome this highly anticipated change in law, which will bring us in line with both Scotland and Northern Ireland where convicted animal abusers can be jailed for up to five years. We're proud that the UK has some of the best animal welfare standards around, which is only fitting for a nation of animal lovers.

The law will come into force in June 2021

Although the bill has now become law, it's expected to come into force on 29 June 2021 - a move for which animal welfare groups and MPs have long campaigned. Once in force, the courts will be given greater opportunity to impose harsher sentences for the worst cases of cruelty, and will act as a deterrent for potential offenders.

The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act is set to cover both England and Wales, once the Senedd for Wales passes a legislative consent motion - which the Welsh Government supports. We'll keep you posted, but make sure you sign up to our campaign network to get the latest updates.

Thank you for your support and helping us achieve this huge change in law, thank you for speaking up on behalf of animals who needed your voice.

When we come together we can give animals a voice