It’s welcome news that the maximum prison sentence for animal abusers has been extended to five years.

Cruelty to animals is a serious offence, and the punishment must reflect the crime.

Of course, in order for the new sentencing to have an impact, it’s crucial that witnesses report all known or suspected cases of cruelty to animals to authorities and that our legal system ensure that perpetrators are actually given the maximum sentence – including a lifetime ban on keeping animals.

But it would be much better if we could prevent animals from being abused and neglected in the first place.

We could make great progress towards stopping future instances of abuse by requiring humane education in schools.

Children who learn to consider the feelings and rights of others – to see the us in them – stand a good chance of growing into kind, benevolent adults and peaceful community members.

Teachers can download PETA’s humane education pack at

Jennifer White