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Poaching: Sentencing

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 72427, tabled on 9 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce harsher sentencing for poachers.

Answered on

19 November 2021

This Government takes wildlife crime, including poaching, seriously and is committed to ensuring the protection wildlife legislation offers is effectively enforced. We also recognise the issues and distress that poaching can cause for rural communities. Crimes such as deer poaching and hare coursing are completely unacceptable. Significant sanctions are already available to judges to hand down to those convicted of wildlife crime. A person guilty of a poaching offence under the Deer Act for example can receive a fine of up to £2,500 and / or up to three months in prison.

The Government has no current plans to introduce harsher sentences for poaching in general. However, our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, published in May this year, sets out our commitment to crack down on illegal hare coursing-related activity, providing law enforcement with more tools to address the issue effectively, including through legislation when Parliamentary time allows.