Budapest, March 1 (MTI) – The justice ministry will initiate talks with animal welfare groups to review penalties the penal code applies for animal abuse and to discuss any amendments that may be needed in the matter, a ministry official said on Tuesday.
Justice ministry state secretary Pál Völner told a press conference in Budapest that the ministry is in the process of reviewing past rulings in animal cruelty cases, as well as animal welfare laws in Europe, with the aim of ensuring that animals receive proper care.
Volner noted that the last amendments to the penal code introduced stricter punishments for animal abuse by raising the penalty for animal cruelty to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and for aggravated animal cruelty to a maximum of three years’ imprisonment.
Volner also emphasised the need to improve efforts to prevent animal abuse by increasing the role of education in animal welfare both in schools and by civil groups.
The state secretary said any amendment of the current animal cruelty laws will have to be preceded by checking proposals against other items in the penal code to ensure that penalties for crimes against animals, for instance, cannot be stricter than penalties for crimes against humans.
Völner said there have been cases in which animal abusers were sentenced to prison.
On February 20, thousands of animal rights activists held a demonstration in front of Parliament against animal abuse. They demanded harsher penalties for animal abusers and that animal cruelty be classified by the law as a crime rather than an offence.