Tough new measures recommended to combat animal cruelty in Northern Ireland have been welcomed by the BVA and BVA Northern Ireland branch.

Northern Ireland’s agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill and justice minister David Ford at the launch of the final report of the review of the implementation of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.

The final report of the review of the implementation of the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011, launched in Belfast yesterday (29 February 2016) by agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill and justice minister David Ford, makes 68 recommendations aimed at enhancing communication between the enforcement bodies, improving processes and highlighting the Animal Welfare Service to the public.

However, at its heart, the report advocates tougher sentencing for those convicted of animal cruelty.

Quick work

Seamus O’Kane, BVA Northern Ireland branch president, said: “We are very pleased with these recommendations and the way in which DARD and the Department of Justice have worked together so quickly to put these recommendations into practice, accepting the recommendations before the publication of the report to allow necessary legislative changes to be made as early as possible.

“It is good to know work is already underway as regards tougher sentencing for those who mistreat animals.

“The BVA Northern Ireland branch would ask judges to consider these new powers for all cases that come before them that involve cruelty to animals, sending out a clear message in every instance about how animals should be valued and treated.”

Enriched establishments

He continued: “We also welcome the recommendation dog breeding establishments will be inspected for how they socialise animals and enhance and enrich their environments, with this requirement due to be written into the regulations at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sean Wensley
BVA president Sean Wensley.

“It was heartening to see one recommendation in action after the launch, with a joint DARD/Department of Justice workshop involving animal charities from across Northern Ireland sharing best practice on rehoming pets. Such sharing of best practice is a recommendation many vets who work and volunteer for animal charities across the country were keen to see.

“And all vets in Northern Ireland are behind minister Ford’s message this morning – ‘Crimes against vulnerable animals are abhorrent and will not be tolerated in our society’.”

Decisive action

BVA president Sean Wensley said: “These are strong recommendations matched by decisive action to make the necessary changes to ensure those who mistreat and abuse animals are punished effectively by the law, while also committing to provide education for young people and the wider public on how to meet the welfare needs of animals.

“The government in Northern Ireland has made a clear statement about how animals should be valued and this is something to be warmly welcomed.”


View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

The BVA has announced a £10,000 donation to Vetlife after Veterinary Times revealed a near tripling of annual contacts to the charity dedicated to helping vets in crisis.

4 mins

The number of EU students applying for medicine, dentistry and veterinary degree courses in the UK has fallen in the wake of Brexit.

4 mins

Despite never meeting him or even speaking to him, the late, great Bob Michell had a profound influence on Nick Marsh's veterinary career and on his outlook in general.

10 mins

The BVA is looking for nominations for the 2017-18 junior vice-president post, as well as three members of its newly formed electoral college.

5 mins

Owners are “killing pets with kindness” in the face of a UK animal obesity crisis, according to BVA president Gudrun Ravetz.

4 mins

To mark the launch of the 2017 BVA In Practice CPD programme, the association has teamed up with programme sponsor Subaru to find a vet to give one of its Outback models the most intense test drive possible.

3 mins