SDLP Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has said that animals will suffer if an animal cruelty register is not introduced in the North.
He was speaking after DAERA Minister Edwin Poots said a register was not possible for legal and financial reasons.
The SDLP has been campaigning for an All Island Animal Cruelty Register, with widespread support from animal rights organisations and the public.
Mid Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said, “After a long campaign to introduce an All Island Animal Cruelty Register, in which we received widespread support from animal rights organisations, the public and politicians on both sides of the border, it’s extremely disappointing that DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has now dismissed the plan with an explanation that doesn’t stack up.
“Our proposals would make huge strides in keeping animals out of the hands of abusers by stopping people with bans from being able to purchase animals, working with animals or getting a license to breed or sell them. It would also link animal cruelty with other relevant offences, further keeping animals out of harm’s way.
“Minister Poots’ proposal of rehoming organisations asking for proof of Access NI checks will in no way address the issues raised and will only ‘encourage’ rehoming organisations to adopt the policy. This plan completely ignores the many different ways that abusers get their hands on animals and the need for cross-border cooperation to stop those with animal cruelty convictions travelling from the North into the South to purchase animals and vice versa.
“I would urge Minister Poots to listen to animal rights organisations and reconsider the implementation of an animal cruelty register. Without action offenders will continue to go undetected and animals will suffer as a result.”