Andy took part in a debate on "Sentencing for cruelty to domestic pets."
Andrew Slaughter MP [Labour - Hammersmith]. 1:55 pm, 16th July 2015:
It is a pleasure to be here under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I congratulatethe hon. Member for Sherwood (Mark Spencer) on securing the debate. He has been campaigning assiduously on this issue, and I am sure that his constituents are very grateful to him. I am sure that his cat, which I believe is called Parsnip, is also grateful for the effort he is making.
This is an important matter. Our inboxes this week show, I am sure, how interested the public are in animal welfare. I am sure that, like me, other hon. Members have had several hundred emails about the proposed revisions to the Hunting Act 2004. That confirms for me that we are a nation of animal lovers and that the British public care deeply about animal welfare.
The hon. Member for Sherwood raised the tragic case of a spate of cat poisonings in his constituency. In doing a little research, I found that that is certainly not restricted to his constituency—it is a regular occurrence. Just this year, more than 140 cats have been poisoned across the country. One of the other victims—the hon. Gentleman may know this but I did not until I looked into it—is my hon. Friend the Member for Hyndburn (Graham Jones), whose own cat, Jaffa, was poisoned and killed in the same way. I should make it clear, having spoken to my hon. Friend, that it is actually his partner’s cat, but I am sure that it is a loss to the whole family. The fact that several hon. Members have been victims, or at least have concerns about this issue, shows just how common it is becoming.
I worry about the level of animal cruelty. Looking at the Library’s debate pack, which cites some horrific cases, most of them very recent, makes one wonder about the mentality of people who can engage in such actions. Earlier this week, there was a story in the Evening Standard relating to my own constituency. It was about a cat that was thrown out of a car on to the Hammersmith flyover—extraordinary, one may think. There was a happy ending, as it was observed by staff of Notting Hill Housing, who risked their own safety to go out and rescue the cat, now called Bridget and now recovering in hospital, with only a grazed chin, I am told.