Wild Welfare is one of 40 organisations that is backing the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign. Collectively we welcome the Government’s commitment to incorporate recognition of animal sentience, and the associated duties to sentient animals’ welfare needs, which are enshrined in Article 13 of the Treaty of Lisbon, into UK law. However, the coalition are increasingly concerned that a Bill has not been brought forward in the 18+ months since this commitment was made.
If the UK leaves the EU on 31st October and Government has not brought forward sentience legislation, animals will no longer be legally recognised as sentient beings. If this happens there will be no legal requirement for Government to pay regard to their welfare needs when formulating and implementing policy. The need to pay ‘all due regard’ is essential as it ensures that animals cannot be treated as ‘goods’ in the creation of new laws which impact them, and it also confirms that animal welfare is given full consideration alongside other public policy needs.
If you share our concerns, you can help by writing to your MP asking them to support the recognition of animal sentience in UK law. On September 3rd, the Parliamentary e-petition calling for UK law to recognise animal sentience, which reached over 100,000 signatures earlier this year, will be handed in at 10 Downing Street and you can ask your MP to attend the reception following this event to show their support. The coalition has provided example text you can use below.
EXAMPLE TEXT FROM SUPPORTER TO MP
Re: Recognising animal sentience in UK law – please attend reception on 3rd September and debate on 9th September
I care deeply about animal welfare and I am asking you to actively and urgently support the recognition of animal sentience in UK law. This is crucial to ensure the welfare of all animals is taken into account in all policy making. To avoid placing animal welfare at risk, I want to see a law recognising animals as sentient beings in place before the UK leaves the EU.
This is of huge concern to me as there is a high risk that, without legal protections in place, animal welfare will not be considered in negotiations of trade deals as the UK leaves the EU. The UK currently has much higher standards than many non-EU countries with which it is seeking trade deals. For example, the USA gives growth hormones to its cows, still uses conventional battery cages in most states and washes its chicken in chlorine. The USA also uses sow stalls in most pig production, which causes severe welfare problems.
I am therefore supporting the alliance of 40 of the country’s largest and most effective animal protection organisations, who collectively represent millions of supporters, and asking you to support the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign.
On Tuesday 3rd of September the Parliamentary e-petition calling for UK law to recognise animal sentience, which reached over 100,000 signatures earlier this year, will be handed in at 10 Downing Street, demonstrating the strength of public feeling on this issue. Supporters of the petition include Joanna Lumley, Alesha Dixon and Chris Packham. This will be followed by a reception in the Churchill Room, from 16.00 – 18.00. Please show your support for the recognition of animal sentience and welfare by attending the reception.
I’m also urging you to participate in the debate on animal sentience to be held on Monday 9th September, 16.30 – 19.30.
The Government has said many times that it intends to recognise animal sentience in law, but still no legislation has been brought forward. Without this legislation enacted before the UK exits the EU, we lose recognition of animal sentience in law along with the legal requirement for government to pay regard to animals’ welfare needs when formulating and implementing policy.
Successive Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State for Environment have proudly proclaimed the UK as being ‘a world leader in animal welfare’, one that puts the interests of animals high up the political agenda, reflecting strong public interest. Please show your support for embedding recognition of animal sentience in UK law, and continuing to uphold the UK’s position as a leader on animal welfare issues by attending the reception on September 3rd, and debate on September 9th.