Brexit presents a key test of the government’s ambition to be ‘a world leader on animal welfare’. 43 of the leading animal protection groups in the UK have joined forces to campaign for a strong law that recognises animal sentience, and creates a duty for Government to consider animals’ welfare needs in its decision-making.
Under European Union law, animals are recognised as sentient beings whose welfare must be protected. As we leave the EU, animals in the UK will lose that legal protection. We are lobbying government for a new Animal Sentience Act to ensure continued legal safeguards for animals, and creation of an independent animal welfare commission to advise Ministers on discharging their duty to animals effectively. At present, we are concerned that Government’s plans fall short.
Diminishing animal protection laws would make animals vulnerable to future Governments creating new laws, policies and trade deals that don’t take into account animals’ welfare needs.
We have hosted two Parliamentary receptions, attended by Ministers and more than 100 MPs and Peers from all political parties. We have demonstrated the strength of public feeling on this issue with strong YouGov polling results, and the backing of twenty-three high profile celebrities - Larry the Downing Street Cat even spoke out on behalf of his fellow animals!
Singer Alesha Dixon's petition for an animal sentience law reached over 100,000 signatures last year, and it will be debated by MPs in Parliament on Monday 16 March. Tweet Your MP now and ask them to speak up for animals at this debate!
Progress is being made, with animal sentience appearing in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019, but a law has still not been passed and, with EU laws no longer applying from 31 December 2020, time is running out. We must speak up for animals who cannt speak up for themselves!
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