Readers’ letters - September 14

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Punishments need to be much tougher

I have just supported the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home campaign calling for five-year sentences for animal cruelty offences.

Currently, the maximum sentence for such offences in England and Wales is just six months imprisonment, a ban from keeping animals and a fine. In Scotland, the maximum prison term is just one year.

These are the highest sentences the courts can give, even in the worst cases of starving, beating or killing animals which shock the public.

In comparison, the maximum custodial sentence for fly-tipping is five years and theft is seven years’ imprisonment.

It’s clear the current maximum sentence for animal cruelty is inadequate, and out of step with sentencing for other crimes.

As Battersea’s new report shows, England and Wales has the lowest sentence across 100 jurisdictions, including Europe, the United States, Australia and many other countries. Battersea found that 93 per cent of these jurisdictions provide for a sentence of one year or more, 54 per cent can impose a prison sentence of three years or more, and 34 per cent of jurisdictions can sentence offenders to five years or more in prison.

Battersea therefore believes that the maximum sentence should be increased to five years.

Increasing the sentence will help protect animals by deterring perpetrators from committing such criminal offences.

Academic studies have found that animal cruelty offenders are five times more likely to also commit acts of violence.

Therefore, the courts urgently need the flexibility to treat the worst cases of animal cruelty more seriously.

Please show your support by viewing www.notfunny.battersea.org.uk and taking action, it only takes a few minutes.

Now is the time to make the punishment fit the crime and to give courts the flexibility to punish animal cruelty properly.

Garry Richardson

Blackpool

brexit

Greece acts as a warning

On September 1, 1939, we declared war to ensure our great country would defend its freedom from domination by Germany.

We were successful because the people of this country had the strength and resolve to fight to ensure our freedom and democracy would be decided by our elected politicians –not unelected politicians of another country across the channel.

On June 23, 2016, the people of this country once more decided to defend their freedom by voting to leave the EU.

Also the people of this great democracy sent a message to the rest of the EU that we will not be economically dominated by the German state. It must de understood that slowly, over the years, Germany has dominated the EU by economic progress, using currency manipulation ie the “one-fit-all” Euro.

We must never ever forget the past acts of domination by Germany.

This thought may be considered fanciful but I say, look at Greece where the EU and German banks have turned a great country into an economic wasteland.

I say, “what Hitler failed to achieve in Greece with the bullet, Merkel has achieved with the Euro.”

By the UK leaving the EU, we will escape German economic domination.

Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call to the rest of the members of the EU that, if they stay, they may face the same fate as Greece.

Bernard Darbyshire

via email

roads

Crossings are for pedestrians

I was recently in my car, waiting to turn left at the junction of Wheelton Lane and Golden Hill Lane in Leyland, whilst the traffic lights were on red.

I then noticed a young lady in her late teens/early 20s approaching the lights along the right hand nearside pavement on Golden Hill Lane on her bicycle, coming from the direction of Earnshaw Bridge, and heading up towards the railway station.

Needless to say, she was wearing the mandatory headphones whilst cycling.

Upon reaching the traffic lights, she dismounted from her bicycle, pressed the pedestrian button to stop both lanes of traffic travelling on Golden Hill Lane, and proceeded to walk across the road to the pavement on the other side of the road, where she remounted her bike. And here was me thinking that pavements and pelican lights were for the benefit of pedestrians. Silly me!

A bemused Leyland resident

society

Rise in UK homelessness

We need to be disturbed by the continuing rise in UK homelessness, and of forcible bailiff evictions which, in England and Wales, reached 42,758 in 2015 – up 53 per cent over 2010 following the displacement of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.

The homelessness charity Crisis predicts a rise of over 25 per cent over the next 10 years. It predicts that the number of rough sleepers, now 9,100, will go up by 76 per cent to 16,000 this decade.

These figures do not include today’s 68,300 ‘sofa-surfers’ or 61,500 people in hostels or unsuitable temporary accommodation.

It is shameful that our nation, the world’s “fifth richest”, suffers this growing deprivation, with Crisis identifying welfare cuts as prime cause. The Child Poverty Action Group highlights “general and specific cuts in benefits, tax credits and universal credit” in real terms as a result of the four-year freeze imposed in April 2016, whilst any subsidies are “not well targeted on low-income families”. It behoves us to support the call by Bishop Rachel Treweek of Gloucester for the freeze to be abandoned.

Frank McManus

via email

employment

There’s one rule for some ...

The TUC and individual trade unions, rather than conduct their negotiations with the Government for pay increases, would be better served by turning to another alternative. This is the body that surprisingly, or is that suspiciously, won a huge percentage increase for MPs shortly after the 2015 election. No mention then that the country could not afford it.

Denis Lee