Government responds to our petition for a #BetterDealForAnimals – but it's not enough

11 March 2019

With Brexit fast approaching, we must act so animals retain vital legal protection

Under Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, animals are recognised as sentient beings, and a duty is placed on the EU and Member States to pay full regard to their welfare requirements when formulating and implementing policies. As it stands, our treasured animals in the UK will lose that protection on Brexit Day.

The Treaty recognises animals as sentient beings, rather than just commodities. Although EU laws are being transferred to the UK after Brexit, the Treaties will cease to apply here. This poses a great risk to the welfare of animals in our country.

Image: cows on Worthy Farm, Glastonbury. Photo credit: Sam Frost/World Animal Protection

Taking action

Together with a coalition of other animal welfare NGOs, we launched a petition demanding immediate action to legally recognise animal sentience in the UK. The petition has so far collected over 28,000 signatures, and prompted the Government to produce an initial response.

Government’s response

The government says it recognises that animals are sentient beingsand will ensure that animal welfare will continue to be protected and improved after Brexit.

However, we are still yet to see these promises backed up by legislation. 

Image: a sow and piglet on a high welfare farm in the UK.

Not enough for animals

New legislation must be in place before Brexit happens, to ensure that there is not a single day in which animals are unprotected. We look forward to the UK government bringing forward new, better, animal welfare protections, but we need to push them to get it done. They need to know that people are watching, that people haven’t forgotten about animals, and that people will celebrate when they enact new legislation.

Image: our Science and Research team, conducting a research project on sentience in dairy cattle in the UK.

How you can help

In order to have animal sentience laws discussed in Parliament, the petition needs to reach 100,000 signatures. Please help us reach this goal for animals by signing now or sharing with your friends and family.

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