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Gildernew announces plans for new animal welfare legislation

1 April, 2009

Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has announced plans to bring forward new animal welfare legislation.

The Minister said: “I have made it clear that a new Animal Welfare Bill is one of my key ministerial priorities. My review of animal welfare legislation is nearing completion and I can now announce that I expect to be in a position shortly after the summer recess to seek Executive approval to bring forward a Bill”.

Discussing the work of the review into existing legislation, the Minister said: “As part of my review of current legislation, I met a range of key stakeholders in order to hear their concerns at first hand. I found these meetings to be very informative. I will seek to reflect the concerns of stakeholders in my proposals for new legislation.

“As I believe that it is vitally important that animal welfare legislation across the island of Ireland is broadly compatible, the new legislation that I bring forward will also reflect on developments in the South, where new animal welfare legislation is also under consideration. I will also seek to ensure that we learn lessons from Britain where welfare legislation has already been introduced.”

The Minister added: “In bringing forward new legislation, I want to ensure that the maximum penalties are available to the Courts for animal cruelty offences, so that these penalties can act as a sufficient deterrent, and provide adequate protection for animals. This is one of the key areas that I will seek to address in the new legislation.”

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