Kurt Zouma training on the pitch People who post animal cruelty online will now face tougher sentencing. - Media Credit: Paul Terry/Sportimage/Alamy

Judges Crack Down On Animal Cruelty Ahead Of Kurt Zouma Trial

Posting animal cruelty is now considered an "aggravated" behavior by the Sentencing Council

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2 Minutes Read

Filming animal abuse and posting it on social media will now come with a tougher penalty, according to new guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

For the first time, the independent, non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice has told judges to hand out tougher sentences to people who post their animal cruelty offenses online. It is now considered an “aggravated” behavior under the Animal Welfare Act.

Under the act, if an offender causes life-threatening injuries and high levels of pain, they could receive five years in prison. But even if there is a small amount of harm, caused by “incompetent care” or a “brief lapse in judgment,” they could still face up to six months behind bars.

Kurt Zouma and animal cruelty

The updated sentencing guidance comes as French footballer Kurt Zouma faces animal cruelty charges. The RSPCA is prosecuting the West Ham player and his brother Yoan for dropping, kicking, slapping, and throwing shoes at a cat. They then posted the footage online.

Zouma has apologized for the incident. But to ensure their safety, the RSCPA removed the footballer’s cats. West Ham has issued Zouma with a fine of £250,000.

The footballer is also being investigated for the same crime in France. (The French Penal Code states that citizens can be prosecuted for crimes carried out abroad.)

In the UK, Zouma will reportedly face trial for animal abuse on May 24.
 
Other “aggravating” factors in animal cruelty cases include the presence of children and the element of professional responsibility. (This would apply to farmers, vets, and breeders, for example.)

Per the Telegraph, Judge Rosa Dean of the Sentencing Council said: “Animals are not able to defend themselves or draw attention to their suffering. It is important that courts have the powers to deliver appropriate sentences to offenders who commit these crimes.”

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The Author

Charlotte Pointing

Charlotte writes about sustainable beauty, fashion, and food. She spent more than 4 years editing in leading vegan media, and has a degree in history and a postgraduate in cultural heritage.

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Janet
Janet
1 month ago

I hope this guidance is carefully worded to mean that those who post videos of abuse are the perpetrators or their associates. Otherwise the animal ag sector might try to use it against Joey Carbstrong et al.

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