||Cruelty law to slug snail killers
By Fiona Govan
July 12, 2004
A new British animal welfare law that will offer slugs and snails the same protection as cats and dogs has been condemned as absurd.
Legislation to be announced this week will give courts the power to impose fines of up to £20,000 ($A51,600) and 12 months' jail on people found guilty of mistreating animals. Anyone under 16 will be banned from owning a pet.
Gardeners could be fined for killing worms, slugs and snails if scientific evidence proves they have suffered pain and distress. Ministers say the law is needed to protect animals from abuse. But horticulturalists said the plan was excessive and rejected the idea that they could be guilty of cruelty.
"Hundreds of slugs and snails are being slaughtered in gardens up and down the country," one gardener said.
RSPCA inspectors could enter without a warrant any vehicle carrying animals.
If entering a private home without a warrant they would need to be accompanied by police.
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: "The law could be taken too literally . . . in theory a man could be arrested for having a depressed dog."