The United Kingdom’s top comic stars have raised our spirits on stage and screen, and now they’ve joined forces to raise awareness of a subject that’s no laughing matter– animal abuse, and the light sentences handed down to offenders.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 26, 2017
In both England and Wales, animal abusers receive a maximum six month prison sentence, while one year sentences are handed down to offenders in Scotland. The punishment is the lowest sentence for animal cruelty charges across all of Europe, Australia and the United States. In an effort to change the maximum sentence to five years, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home– an animal welfare organization which cares for approximately 260 homeless dogs and 220 cats on any given day at its three adoption centers– launched its Not Funny campaign in February. To increase the campaign’s impact, today celebrity comics Ricky Gervais, Tracey Ullman, Sue Perkins, Paul O’Grady and Harry Hill have been unveiled as celebrity supporters of the paws cause.
In the days ahead British citizens will see the comedians’ famous faces on billboards, posters and digital screens at more than 170 locations, on London’s transport network and on social media. The campaign urges UK animal lovers to request a change in the law, with animal abusers receiving a stiffer sentences for inflicting suffering on a dog or cat. (As of June 28, the campaign has reached 53 percent of its target goal of 75,000 supporters).
Compassionate Comedians Show Their Support
- He’s tickled our funny bones over the years in Britcoms like The Office and Extras, but as a champion of the four-legged underdog Ricky Gervais has touched our hearts. A high-profile proponent of many animal welfare efforts, the star has stated: “It’s sickening to hear about innocent dogs and cats enduring terrible suffering at the hands of humans and knowing the law does nothing to protect them, or deter people from committing these acts of cruelty. Six months in prison is nowhere near long enough for people who choose to abuse, torture and kill animals.”
- The proud new pet parent of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier adopted from Animal Lifetime, Sue Perkins — who US foodies will recognize from mixing comedy with confections as a presenter on The Great British Baking Show— is boiling over the current short-term sentences received for acts of violence toward our four-legged friends, exclaiming in a statement in the newspaper The Express: “There’s nothing funny about animal abuse but to hear that six months is the maximum punishment you can get, no matter how awful the crime, is almost laughable. It’s time we stopped making a joke of animal cruelty sentencing. We need stronger sentences for animal abusers– join Battersea to speak out for dogs and cats.”
- An iconic comic figure and doting Dad to a Battersea dog, Paul O’Grady has used his star wattage to shine a spotlight on Battersea Dogs and Cats Home both through his role as an ambassador for the animal welfare charity and as a presenter of the award-winning docu-series Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs. Speaking out for the paws cause, O’Grady stated: “There’s nothing like looking into an animal’s eyes to see how innocent and trusting they are, and it makes me angry to see the way some people mistreat and abuse them. I can’t stand by and watch while those responsible for the most terrible suffering are unlikely to get more than a few weeks in prison. What’s to stop them doing it again?”
Photo Credit: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home