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Government bows to public pressure over animal sentience

13 Décembre 2017

Conservative Members of Parliament voted against recognizing animals as sentient beings in November, leading to condemnation that now seems to have reversed the government's policy.

Mr Agnew said it was "vital that our high animal welfare standards be enshrined in law".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove published a draft Bill requiring law-makers to recognise animals as conscious beings who can feel pain.

The Environment Secretary said it was not a vote against the idea that animals feel pain, but said the amendment risked creating legal confusion.

"Our plans will also increase sentences for those who commit the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to five years in jail".

In the new draft bill, animal sentience is enshrined in United Kingdom law and five-year jail sentences for animal cruelty are introduced.

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"So we will make Brexit work not just for citizens but for the animals we love and cherish too".

Conservative members of Parliament voted on November 20 against transplanting animal welfare protections enshrined in European Union law into British law as part of the process of separating the two legal systems in the lead-up to Brexit.

She said: "It will make a massive difference for animals and hopefully really start to act as a deterrent and put England back where it should be at the top of the league tables for animal welfare".

Following the voting down of the Green MP's amendment to continue recognising animals as sentient beings, over 1,200 people in the veterinary industry signed a letter urging the government to ensure the notion that animals are sentient into British law.

"This Bill captures the substantive obligation that Article 13 now puts on the national government to consider animal welfare, as well as explicitly recognising animals as sentient beings".

David Bowles, of the RSPCA, said: "This is potentially great news for animals post-Brexit".

Government bows to public pressure over animal sentience