Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Image CIWF

Image CIWF

Animal sentience to be denied?

A few years ago, Thom Kofoed and I, both local residents, made a short animation film about the export of live animals. This included mention of the Lisbon Treaty and the acknowledged sentience of animals and how this was vital to their welfare. Post Brexit, this will change in the UK, but maybe it can be stopped if enough of us respond? Zelly Restorick writes, quoting from Compassion in World Farming’s latest report.

Earlier this summer, Compassion in World Farming discovered that the legal status of British animals as sentient beings was under threat. Now they report that the government has confirmed that they do not intend to amend the Repeal Bill. When they convert EU law into UK law, they are determined to ignore Article 13 of the EU Treaty – which serves to acknowledge that animals can feel pain, suffer and experience joy.

“This obligation will not be preserved by the EU (Withdrawal Bill); which delivers our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.” Defra Under Secretary of State, Lord Gardiner, August 2017.


You can take action by adding your name to the Compassion in World Farming petition, which states:

The EU Treaty recognises animals as sentient beings. Once the UK leaves the EU, we cannot be sure that future Governments will still treat animals as sentient beings – so we demand that the Treaty clause is brought into UK law. Please ensure the Repeal Bill recognises animals as sentient beings, and requires that full regard be paid to their welfare in the formulation of policy.

‘This is an emergency for animals,’ writes CIWF. ‘Without recognition of their status as sentient beings, all past and future progress for animal welfare in the UK is at risk. Your signature helps to ensure this change in the law will not pass unnoticed. How many of your friends and family could also sign this petition? You can send them the following link: The Compassion in World Farming Repeal Petition.’

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which formally enacts Brexit, has omitted key elements of EU commitment to animal welfare. Ministers had indicated Brexit would be an opportunity to improve animal welfare in the UK but the bill suggests the exact opposite – a step backwards.

How is it that promises are made in order to get votes, then often broken once the vote is in – and there are no repercussions?

Animals were officially recognised as ‘sentient beings’ in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, Article 13 of which requires Member States to ‘pay full regard’ to animal welfare, yet this has not been taken over in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

CIWF’s Head of Policy, Dr Nick Palmer, said: “The British public has been led to believe that the Bill would just transfer European legislation wholesale, to allow for later modification, but today’s publication suggests that this is not the case. How can the UK be seen as a leader in animal welfare when the repeal bill fails to guarantee that animals will continue to be regarded as sentient beings? We urge the Government to reintroduce the commitment into the Bill.”

No Voice, No Choice: a short animation film by Zelly Restorick and Thom Kofoed about the live export of animals:

Posted 10:04 Friday, Sep 8, 2017 In: Campaigns

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