Success! Animal sentience to be recognised in UK law

15 October 2019

The government announced in the Queen’s Speech that it will introduce legislation to recognise animal sentience - the fact that animals can feel pain and emotion - in UK law.

Together with 100,000 of you, who have helped by signing the Parliamentary e-petition and emailing your MPs, we have convinced the government to formally commit to introduce this law to replace EU regulations which will cease to apply in the UK after Brexit. We must now ensure that this law is passed quickly.

Working with other animal welfare organisations

We have been working with 41 animal welfare charities including the RSPCA, Humane Society International and Compassion in World Farming to campaign for sentience to be recognised in law to replace EU regulations which will cease to apply in the UK after Brexit.

The #BetterDealforAnimals campaign has been running for over a year and gained the support of UK animal lovers and the backing of celebrities such as Alesha Dixon, Evanna Lynch, Leona Lewis and over 100 MPs and peers across all parties.

We will work with government to ensure the law is effective

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, external affairs adviser at World Animal Protection said, “We are pleased that the government has committed to recognising animals as sentient beings and we look forward to continuing to work with DEFRA to ensure the new legislation is effective by helping them establish an independent Animal Welfare Commission in the law. With such a statutory body in place as we leave the EU, the UK would truly be a global leader in animal welfare.”

Without this law animals would be unprotected

Leaving the EU without recognising sentience would make animals vulnerable to the government creating new laws, policies or trade deals that do not take animals’ welfare needs into account.

For example, new trade deals could be agreed that would permit imports of lower welfare animal products – such as chicken carcasses washed in chlorine to mask low welfare standards, and meat and dairy produced from hormone-treated animals.

This new legislation must be passed as quickly as possible to ensure that there is no gap in protections, and so the UK can lead the world in animal welfare after Brexit.

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