Animals are sentient beings under EU law, and should be so under UK law as well

Compassion in World Farming have launched a petition to ensure that animals are recognised as “sentient beings” and afforded the same level of protection under UK law as they currently are under EU law after Britain leaves the European Union.

Under current European law, animals are recognised as sentient beings, acknowledging their ability to feel pain, suffer and also experience joy. As sentient beings, full regard must be given to their welfare when creating new legislation or regulations. Securing this status for animals was a massive step forward for animal welfare when the legislation was first adopted in 1997, and subsequently consolidated in the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. The Repeal Bill, which moves all European law into UK law once Britain leaves the EU, has left out this important protection, omitting both the recognition of animals as sentient beings, and the requirement for governments to pay “full regard” to their welfare. Thus, once the UK leaves the EU, we cannot be sure that future Governments will still treat animals as sentient beings.

The petition to Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove MP reads as follows:
“The EU Treaty recognises animals as sentient beings. Once the UK leaves the EU, we cannot be sure that future Governments will still treat animals as sentient beings – so we demand that the Treaty clause is brought into UK law. Please ensure the Repeal Bill recognises animals as sentient beings, and requires that full regard be paid to their welfare in the formulation of policy.”

To sign the petition go to: http://www.ciwf.org.uk/repeal

Paul Appleby

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