Animals are not objects
Much like us, sentient animals are aware of their feelings and emotions. Their lives matter to them and they have the same capacity as us to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering. Legal recognition of sentience is crucial in order to give animals the vital protection they need.
UK Government announced its intentions to recognise sentience
After its introduction last year, the Sentience Bill is now on its journey through the Houses of Parliament, and in order for the Bill to be as successful as possible, MPs need to hear from the public.
In a celebrated move for animal welfare, the Bill has also been recently amended to recognise crabs, lobsters and octopus as sentient. This came after a recent report confirmed the scientific evidence that decapods and cephalopods have the capacity to feel pain and distress, as well as positive feelings. This change could put an end to the inappropriate keeping of these animals and barbaric practices such as live boiling.
Get your MP to support the Bill
We need MPs to feel the pinch of public opinion. To help us make the UK a kinder place for animals, take action below to ask your MP to support the Bill.
EU law recognises animals as sentient beings
Post-Brexit, animals have lost the vital legal protections that came with EU law. We want a #BetterDealForAnimals - a law that creates a duty for all Ministers in the UK to fully regard animal welfare in policy making.
Animals are not 'goods' and full regard must be given to their welfare to ensure we can continue to change their lives for the better.
What this means for animal welfare
Under EU law animals are recognised as beings with feelings, but this hasn't become part of UK law now we've left the European Union.
We must ensure that animals have the same protection and they are not viewed merely as commodities.
We want to see a new Animal Welfare Commission in England and Wales, and a process to balance animal needs against other goals when making future policy decisions.
Now we've left the EU, we must ensure that Brexit is not a backwards step for animal welfare.
What we have lost
The recognition that animals are sentient beings, with feelings and emotions, sends a strong message to politicians in both England and Wales. Any laws impacting animals need to take into account their capacity to suffer.
Sadly millions of animals are still being kept in conditions that do not meet their needs. However, laws are changing and we are seeing significant improvements in how animals are treated.
In the last 20 years we've seen:
- barren battery cages banned
- Animal testing for cosmetics ended
- Import of seal products prohibited.