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Animal abuse figures reveal rise
Conviction rates for animal cruelty in the UK have revealed a worrying increase in abuse, the RSPCA has said.

The animal welfare organisation said in 2005 cases included a cat dying in a washing machine and a dog whose leg was sawn off by its owners.

Convictions for animal cruelty last year increased by a fifth to 2,071, compared with 1,700 in 2004.

A RSPCA spokeswoman said inspectors had reported an “increase in the level of violence” against animals.

According to the charity, neglect remains the most common crime.

The figures show there has been a sharp increase in the number of animals not receiving basic care.

Nearly 26,000 animals did not have access to water – an increase of more than 100% compared with 2004 – while around 35,000 were not getting suitable veterinary treatment, a rise of nearly 80%.

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Blair threatens junk food ad ban
Tony Blair has said he would consider banning the advertising of junk food to children to boost public health.

The prime minister said he wanted to give the food industry a chance to prove it could regulate its own ads.

But if in a year’s time new guidelines were judged not to be working he would consider legislation, he told the BBC.

Media regulator Ofcom is consulting on restricting junk food ads but has already ruled out the option of a pre-9pm broadcast ban.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says three options set out so far by media watchdog Ofcom do not go far enough and banning ads for products like crisps and fizzy drinks would help protect children’s health.

It is estimated that 14% of children in England are clinically obese.

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