It’s a lot easier to abuse animals if the risk of being properly punished for it is slim. The current 6 months maximum sentence for animal cruelty isn’t a realistic deterrent. That some of the appalling animal cruelty goes on without proper punishment, is an injustice that burned bright for me and, I believe, the majority of the public. Many have lobbied the government to put these matters right and there certainly seems little argument against doing so in the animal welfare sector.

I was delighted to lead a delegation of animal welfare organisations, together with Chris Sherwood the CEO of the RSPCA, to 10 Downing Street today. Together, we put the case for bringing the long awaited sentencing bill forward to the Prime Minister’s special advisor on the environment, Lord John Randall. I want to thank him for hosting the meeting, and for listening so intently to what we had to say. We are asking that the Bill be passed before Mrs May leaves office, and we commend it to MPs on all sides of the House.

My sincere thanks goes to those who attended today, representing some of the most powerful NGOs in the country. I want to recognise them all by name; Clare Horton, Steve Goody, James Yeates, Nick Palmer, Paula Boyden, Claire Bass, David Cowdrey, Paula Sparks, Roly Owers and Elaine King. By going with weight of numbers, and with exactly the same, simple aim as our focus, I believe we have sent a powerful message of hope and determination to those with the power to affect the biggest single change in animal welfare for many years. We eagerly await the response from Government.