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Animal Welfare

The Animal Welfare Strategy Group seeks to raise the UK Government’s commitment to animal welfare by identifying opportunities to provide support and evidence-based, pragmatic animal welfare advice to Link’s current working groups. In doing so, the Group’s work aims to improve collaboration and understanding between conservation and animal welfare focused organisations and will support Link’s other working groups in addressing animal welfare issues.

Chair: Claire Bass, Humane Society International
Vice Chair: Emily Wilson, Four Paws
Link: Matt Browne, Advocacy Lead

Update from the Group:

The key focus of the Animal Welfare Strategy Group is our #BetterDealForAnimals campaign, pushing the Government to bring forward, as a matter of urgency, legislation that recognises animals as sentient beings and ensures their protection post Brexit. Led by Link, the campaign brings together 40 of the UK’s largest and most effective animal protection groups.

The campaigners have hosted two Parliamentary receptions which over 100 MPs and Peers, from all political parties, declared their support for a Better Deal for Animals. A truly cross-party roster of MPs sponsored the events, showing political consensus on the issue, and both Government and Shadow Cabinet Ministers addressed attendees.

Our petition, launched by singer and TV presenter Alesha Dixon, reached over 100,000 signatures and was debated in Parliament in March 2020. This, along with our YouGov polling, demonstrates the strength of public feeling on this issue.

We continue to press the Government to deliver on their 2019 Manifesto commitment and bring forward robust animal sentience legislation. We are working with Government and its officials to ensure this Bill is brought forward as soon as possible, to avoid a legislative gap when the Brexit transition period ends and ensure that it truly gives animals the protection they deserve, covering cephalopods and crustaceans and creating an independent animal welfare commission to advise Ministers on discharging their duty to animals effectively.

On 26 November 2020 the Group held an online roundtable, chaired by Lord John Randall, setting out principles to underpin effective animal sentience legislation (expected for 2021).

The Group also continues to provide a forum and resource for Link members where animal welfare is concerned, and invites all Groups and members to contact us for further information or advice. In May 2020 the Group hosted a symposium with the UK Centre for Animal Law on Brexit and Animal Welfare.

In July 2020 Link submitted evidence to Defra making the case for amendment of the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 to ban seal shooting in English waters.

For further information, contact Matt Browne, Link's Advocacy Lead

Last updated: 27 January 2021