Animal Sentience (November 2017)

A number of constituents have contacted me recently about the need to protect animals’ status as sentient beings.

I am totally committed to all attempts to improve animal welfare.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I and my colleagues did not vote to conclude that animals cannot feel pain. In fact, we believe and have stated the exact opposite. During the debate, the Minster stated explicitly, “Animals will continue to be recognised as sentient under domestic law.”

Moreover, when asked to confirm whether Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty, which categorises animals as sentient beings, will be part of the Great Repeal Bill on 20 July 2017, the Secretary of State responded:

“Absolutely. Before we entered the European Union, we recognised in our own legislation that animals were sentient beings…It is an absolutely vital commitment that we have to ensure that all creation is maintained, enhanced and protected.”

The Secretary of State recently spoke to reiterate this, so I have attached the video here for your information.

I am proud to be part of a Government which is so committed to improving animal welfare. Over the past couple of years a number of laws have been passed by the Government that have made Britain a world-leader in animal welfare. This includes but is not limited to; increasing sentencing for the worst-cases of animal cruelty to 5 years in prison; introducing Europe’s most comprehensive ban on the ivory trade; banning the use of plastic microbeads that are harmful to our marine life; and introducing legislation making CCTV in all slaughterhouses mandatory.