Animals will be formally recognized as sentient beings as per the law in the United Kingdom. As a part of the government’s first of a kind Action Plan for Animal Welfare, the British government has introduced a bill to formally recognise animals as sentient beings. “Vertebrate animals will be recognised as sentient beings for the first time in UK law thanks to the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, introduced in Parliament today”, stated the official press release.
As per the new law, the legislation will also ensure that animal sentience is taken into account while developing a policy across Government through the creation of an Animal Sentience Committee. This will be made up of animal experts from within the field. From now on, any new legislation will have to take into account that animals can experience feelings such as pain or joy.
The press release stated that the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill will formally recognise animals as sentient beings in domestic law, establish an Animal Sentience Committee which will be made up of experts. This will ensure cross departmental government policy considers animal sentience. Also, it will ensure that the Government Ministers update parliament on recommendations made by the Animal Sentience Committee.
The Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said, “The UK has always led the way on animal welfare and now that we’ve left the EU we are free to drive for the highest standards of animal welfare anywhere in the world. Formally recognising in law that animals are sentient and experience feelings in the same way humans do is just the first step in our flagship Action Plan for Animal Welfare which will further transform the lives of animals in this country and strengthen our position as a global leader”.
This is not the first time when the UK has done something to help the animals. The UK is the first country in the world to pass legislation to protect animals in 1822. Also, it passed the Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act and later the landmark Protection of Animals Act in 1911.
The Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK, Claire Bass said, “45 of the UK’s most respected animal protection organisations have been united in calling for this Bill, which recognises that animals have the ability to experience feelings, including pain, joy and fear, and that their emotions and welfare deserve consideration and protection when laws are made”.