UUP sets out animal welfare proposals

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

The Ulster Unionist Party is proposing to create a central register of offenders who have convictions for cruelty against animals.

The proposal is among a number of measures the party has put forward in its latest policy paper.

Other ideas cited in the document are:

. The creation of a central register of people convicted of animal cruelty;

. Tightening the online advertising and sale of pets;

. Making an attack on a guide dog or assistance dog an aggravated offence;

. The introduction of a new regulatory framework for greyhound racing in Northern Ireland;

. It also calls for CCTV to be installed in slaughterhouses in a bid to improve animal welfare standards.

Party leader Mike Nesbitt said: “Northern Ireland is a Province of animal lovers, with almost half of all local households sharing their homes with at least one pet...

“Whilst we already have animal welfare protections enshrined in law, unfortunately the implementation of these have been feeble. Over recent years too many people have been responsible for unthinkable acts of cruelty to animals and have got away with it.

“That needs to change. We want to see more people successfully prosecuted, with stronger punishments to include custodial sentences.”