Alliance Assembly candidate Trevor Lunn has said the good progress made recently combating animal cruelty must continue.
Trevor Lunn said: “In recent times, several high profile court cases have highlighted the issue of animal cruelty and neglect. These inexcusable acts of cruelty against defenceless animals have both sickened and angered people right across our community.
“The Alliance Party has always prioritised animal welfare and our party leader and Justice Minister, David Ford, has recently done important work to protect animals. His Justice (No 2) Bill, increased the maximum penalty for serious cases of animal cruelty to five years and also allows the Director of Public Prosecutions to challenge unduly lenient sentences for animal cruelty.
“As we applaud these important changes, much work remains. Alliance believes we should ban the use of wild animals in circuses, and also reduce and better regulate necessary animal testing. We would also advocate increasing the powers of local authorities to deal with issues like horse abandonment.
“The area of animal ownership should be better regulated and we believe cats should be micro-chipped and registered as dogs are. Tighter regulation of the selling of pets would help protect the animals and ensure purchasers are dealt with honestly.
“Alliance believes that by better protecting animals, our society can show itself to be compassionate and caring.”