Animals are not objects

Much like us, animals are sentient beings and aware of their feelings and emotions. Their lives matter to them and they have the same capacity to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering.

With the upcoming Brexit discussions, to enable the UK to withdraw from the EU, we want to make sure that the current animal welfare legislations still apply.

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.

I am an animal, we are all animals, and therefore I care - Michael Gove, UK Government Minister, July 2017

Good news for animals post-Brexit

A new draft bill announced on 12 December 2017 sets out that the Government recognises that animals are sentient beings that have the capacity to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering, and that the government will take this into account when formulating a new policy.

Read more in our news story: We welcome draft animal welfare bill.

What does leaving the EU mean for animal welfare?

Piglets looking over trough © RSPCA

Under EU law animals are recognised as beings with feelings, but what will happen once the UK leaves the European Union?

We must ensure that animals have the same protection and they are not viewed merely as commodities.

After March 2019, European law will no longer apply in the UK.

With 80 percent of current animal welfare legislation coming from the EU, we must ensure that Brexit is not a backwards step for animal welfare.

In the coming weeks politicians in England and Wales will be debating UK Government proposals to enable the UK to withdraw from the EU and ensure European law will no longer apply in the UK.

What we could lose

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 on animals needs 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.

Since the recognition of animals as sentient beings, the EU has:

  • Banned the use of barren battery cages
  • Ended animal testing for cosmetics
  • Prohibited the import of seal products.
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