§ Sir John Biggs-Davison
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to increase the penalties available to the courts in cases of organised dog fighting and badger baiting, and if he will make a statement.606W
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The Government entirely share the public abhorrence of the barbaric practices of dog fighting and badger baiting. The maximum penalties for such activities, provided under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, were recently doubled, to a fine not exceeding level 6 on the standard scale (£2,000) or six months' imprisonment, or both. In the case of badgers, additional protection against cruelty is provided by the Badgers Act 1975, as amended by the Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1985. We believe that the maximum penalties available under these Acts are substantial and appropriate to the gravity of the offences. We shall however be giving support to the proposals by my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne ) to increase substantially the maximum penalties for attendance at animal fights or baiting.