OneKind has today welcomed the publication of a draft Animal Welfare Act by the UK Government.
The draft Bill recognises animals as sentient beings and requires UK Ministers to have regard to this and their welfare when developing policy. It follows public outcry in response to the omission of a similar requirement in the EU Withdrawal Bill and a vote at Westminster against an amendment that would have corrected this.
Harry Huyton, Director of OneKind, said:
“We are delighted to see such a quick response from the UK Government to the hundreds of thousands of people who expressed their deep concern about the failure to include the EU animal sentience principle in the EU Withdrawal Bill.”
“The draft Animal Welfare Bill published today will transpose this critical legislative principle so that animals are recognised as sentient beings and all future policy must pay regard to this. This could even be stronger than the current requirement in EU law, which has more limited scope.”
Animal welfare is a devolved matter, but Section 1 of the draft Animal Welfare Bill, which includes the animal sentience principle, will apply across the UK. The Bill will therefore require legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament. Harry Huyton continued:
“I would like to thank our supporters for sending over 8000 emails to MSPs over the last couple of weeks asking them to support action on this important issue, and the 44 MSPs who signed a motion in support of this campaign. The Bill will now be taken forward by Westminster, but we look forward to the Scottish Parliament supporting it through a legislative consent motion next year.”
Notes to editor:
- The UK Government press release announcing a new bill to strengthen animal welfare is available here
- The draft bill is available here
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