The proposal, drawn up by the country’s justice ministry and recently approved by the government, seeks to introduce harsher penalties for those mistreating animals in Poland. Offenders would face up to three years in prison, or up to five years in extreme cases.
If the proposal is put into practice, Polish regulations in this area will become the most restrictive in Europe, according to one expert, Paweł Gebert of the OTOZ Animals organisation.
With the new rules Poland will be “setting the standards” when it comes to penalties for cruelty to animals, he said, as quoted by a newspaper.
"I hope the new rules will effectively deter those who have not yet learned that animals are not things," Gebert said.
In a rare display of non-partisan cooperation, both the ruling conservative party and the opposition have presented a united front on the issue.
According to Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki, the new rules will mean that there will be “fewer suspended sentences and small fines that have no preventive effect.”
Meanwhile, the number of crimes against animals in Poland is steadily growing, according to a report by the interior ministry.
Crimes shoot up
Police confirmed more than 990 such crimes in 2004. By 2014 the number had shot up to 1,501, rising to 1,859 in 2015, according to the interior ministry.
According to Cezary Wyszyński from the Viva! animal rights foundation, crimes against animals can be divided into two groups.
"The first concerns intentional cruelty to animals. These are situations when people just take pleasure in causing pain to animals," he says.
The second group arises from negligence -- such as failing to feed an animal properly or to provide it with veterinary treatment -- and is more common, he adds.
More organizations are working to protect animals, which could be a reason for more cases of cruelty coming to light, according to Wyszyński. (str/pk)
Source: GW, niezalezna.pl