13 January 2022
Animal sentience refers to a truth evident to anyone who has looked after animals; that they can feel and experience emotions such as joy, pleasure, pain and fear. Born Free believes that all animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, should be treated with compassion and respect.
When the UK was a member of the European Union, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognised animals as sentient beings and imposed a duty on Member States to pay regard to their welfare requirements in formulating and implementing policy. When the Brexit transition period ended on 1 January 2021, this specific recognition of animal sentience fell out of UK law.
The Government has introduced the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill to remedy this. The bill recognises the sentience of animals and establishes a new committee to scrutinise Government policy to consider whether policies will have an adverse impact on the welfare of animals as sentient beings.
The Bill started in the House of Lords and is now approaching a critical stage in the House of Commons – will you help to defend it, ensure it passes into law and proclaim once and for all that animals are sentient beings?
A template email to your MP can be found here. The email asks your MP to support the Bill at second reading, and to attend a special briefing session on the Bill from the Better Deal for Animals coalition. Feel free to adapt the email and add in your own experiences of animals and evidence of their sentience!
All major parties have committed to supporting new legislation to enshrine animal sentience in UK law and ensure our animal welfare standards are not eroded now that we are no longer subject to EU law. – will you hold them to their promise?
Thank you in advance for your help. Together we can ensure that the sentience of animals, so apparent to all of us who cherish them, is recognised in law.
Image © Gary Bendig / Unsplash