Uk law now recognises animals as sentient beings

Yvonne O'Halloran

For the first time, in the UK, animals are to be formally recognised as sentient beings. The reforms will include an animal sentience bill, and cover pets, and farm animals in the UK. This will also extend to imports of animals or animal parts, banning ivory, shark fins and a potential ban on foie gras.

According to The Guardian, microchipping cats and preventing primates from being kept as pets have been one part of the upcoming measures, which have been in the pipeline for several years. The restriction of live animal exports has finally gained traction after decades of campaigns.

The action plan will clamp down on pet theft, e collars that deliver electric shocks for pets will be banned and there will be new import rules with the goal to prevent puppy smuggling. Glue traps will be restricted and illegal hare coursing will be clamped down on. Unfortunately, cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs will not be banned, but this will be investigated and farmers will be provided incentives to improve animal welfare through a potential farm subsidies. This is a huge step in the right direction but so much more has to be done.

According to Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK and sourced from The Guardian’s article she stated: “Delivering on the plan will require understanding and real commitment from across Whitehall. Respect for animal welfare is not only the right thing to do for animals, it will also play a critical role in tackling global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance, and pandemic prevention.”


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