Animals as Sentient Beings

Thank you for contacting me about animal sentience.

First and foremost, I believe animals are sentient beings who can feel pain and suffering, and I would like to reassure you that strong action is being taken to reduce their risk of harm.

I am pleased that the Government is committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards, and Ministers have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience following a clear manifesto commitment. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in an effective and credible way and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.
In the meantime, the Government’s policies on animal welfare continue to be driven by its recognition that animals are sentient beings. I believe that this commitment to the protection of animal welfare is demonstrated by my Ministerial colleagues continued support for the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill which passed its second reading in the House of Commons recently.
Having left the EU, the UK will now have the opportunity to do even more. Ministers have a commitment to end excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening and intend to consult on how they deliver this shortly. Ministers will also be consulting in the near future on commitments to ban primates as pets, introduce mandatory cat microchipping and implement the Ivory Act. I am also encouraged that this Government has committed to ban imports from trophy hunting of endangered animals.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

December 2020