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Unanimous support for animal cruelty bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Bridges
Simon Bridges

Wellington, July 1 NZPA - Penalties for cruelty to animals have been significantly increased under a bill enacted by unanimous vote in Parlianment today.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Act started off as a member's bill drafted by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges.

It was taken over by the Government so it could be given priority treatment, and it was strongly supported by all the other parties.

The maximum sentence for wilful ill-treatment of an animal has been increased from three to five years and the maximum fine doubled to $100,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a company.

Penalties also increase for a range of other neglect and ill-treatment offences and the Act expands the law relating to forfeiture of animals and disqualification from having them.

It creates a new offence of reckless ill-treatment, which will make it easier for offenders to be prosecuted.

Agriculture Minister David Carter, who took the bill through Parliament, welcomed the unanimous vote on its third reading.

"The legislation sends a clear message that serious offending against animals will not be tolerated," he said.

"The unanimous support it received in Parliament reflects the fact that New Zealanders want strong laws to protect animals from harm."

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