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Animal Cruelty Bill Will Send A Strong Signal, MP Says

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Bridges
Simon Bridges

Wellington, Feb 2 NZPA - The Government has decided to take over a member's bill to raise the penalty for cruelty to animals, and the MP who drafted it says the decision will send a strong signal that cruelty won't be tolerated.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges drafted the law change to raise the maximum penalty from three to five years, but as a member's bill it could have taken years to enact.

Its provisions will be put into Agriculture Minister David Carter's Animal Welfare Amendment Bill which he intends introducing to Parliament.

Mr Bridges said National's caucus supported his bill, reflecting the concerns of the communities they represented.

"This is decisive action by National, and means that the issue can be addressed in a timely fashion by our Parliament," he said.

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley called on Mr Carter to widen the bill so it covered all forms of animal abuse, including keeping pigs and hens in cages.

"If the National Party is serious about reducing animal abuse in New Zealand, it has got to do more than just increase jail sentences from three to five years," she said.

"It has got to improve the system for monitoring and prosecuting people who abuse animals and look at issues of rehabilitation and education."

Ms Kedgley said the bill should address the problem of millions of animals in New Zealand being abused each year by being kept in cages for all of their lives.

"We can't just increase penalties for individual acts of cruelty to animals, and turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of animals such as pigs and hens that are kept in cages."

Mr Carter said adopting Mr Bridges' bill would complement a range of work the Government was doing on animal welfare.

"Increasing incidences of animal cruelty are horrifying many New Zealanders and the National Government wants to see stronger measures in place to deal with this issue," he said.

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