Animal sentience to be lost from UK law unless Government acts now

Tuesday 22nd September 2020 marks 100 days before the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU ends and, unless the Government acts quickly, the recognition of animal sentience - that animals have feelings and emotions - which is enshrined in EU treaties, will be lost from UK law.

As such, international wildlife charity Born Free is calling on the Government, and indeed the British public, to demand a #BetterDealForAnimals following the EU exit. This would be through the adoption of a strong law that recognises animal sentience, and a requirement that all Government laws and policies must take the impact on animals into account.

Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, said: “In spite of many promises that animal protections wouldn’t be lost or weakened as we exit the European Union, without urgent action by Government, the recognition of animal sentience will disappear from the UK’s statute book on 1st January next year.

“This legal recognition of animal sentience isn’t just a nice thing to have; it can be a powerful tool in protecting the welfare of animals when coupled with a duty on ministers and other policymakers to take full account of the impact on animal welfare when formulating and implementing legislation and policy.

“The UK is often described as an animal loving nation; the Government needs to recognise animal sentience in law without delay if we are to ensure this reputation isn’t diminished when we exit the EU transition period at the end of this year.”

The public can help by visiting and sending a message to the Secretary of State for the Environment, George Eustice MP calling on the UK Government to recognise that animals have feelings too, and to support the recognition of animal sentience in UK law.

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