Justice is devolved in Scotland and as a result legislation on sentencing is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
I am pleased that the UK Government is bringing forward legislation to increase punishments for the most horrific acts of animal cruelty to five years.
Unfortunately, it appears Scotland is falling behind when it comes to the protection of animals. With among the lowest animal cruelty sentences in Europe, there is very little deterrent. I believe Scotland must at least match the five-year maximum term being legislated for in England, and go further when it comes to education and tackling problems like illegal puppy farming. After my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament warned they would use the opposition majority to change legislation, the Scottish Government announced a consultation on animal welfare, which has now closed and the results will be published shortly.