Breaking! The UK Introduces Legislation To Recognize Animals As Sentient Beings & Publishes History-Making Action Plan For Animal Welfare

Yesterday, following a speech by Queen Elizabeth, the UK Government published a history-making Action Plan For Animal Welfare. The plan is designed to revolutionize the treatment of animals in the UK and introduce measures to protect the welfare of animals abroad.

The Government also took another significant step forward on animal welfare by formally recognizing animals as sentient beings through a new Animal Sentience Bill that was introduced in Parliament today, putting animal welfare at the very heart of government policy decision making.

“We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animals for slaughter, prohibit keeping primates as pets, and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling,” Environment Secretary George Eustice said in a statement, further noting that the UK government plans to also implement the world’s toughest ivory ban and a ban on the import of hunting “trophies” to protect iconic species.

The Action Plan for Animal Welfare also sets out how the government will Improve welfare for pets by:

  • tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules

  • introducing compulsory microchipping for cats

  • cracking down on pet theft through a new government taskforce

  • banning remote controlled training e-collars

Protect wild animals by:

  • making it illegal to keep primates as pets

  • introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing

  • supporting legislation to restrict the use of glue traps

  • funding wildlife conservation projects both at home and abroad

Protect animals abroad by:

  • banning the import of hunting “trophies” from endangered species

  • banning the sale of ivory by implementing the Ivory Act this year

  • prohibiting the import and export of shark fins to protect iconic shark species

  • exploring a ban on the sale of foie gras

  • banning the advertisement of practices abroad, such as elephant rides

Improve welfare for farmed animals by:

  • ending the export of live animals for slaughter

  • introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport

  • examining the use of cages for chicken and farrowing crates for pigs

  • improving animal welfare at slaughter

  • incentivizing farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy

The Government will also ensure that animal welfare is not compromised in all future trade negotiations.

As previously reported by WAN, the release of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare comes less than one month after Queen Elizabeth signed the The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 into law. The new legislation increases the maximum penalty for animal cruelty in England and Wales from six months to up to five years in prison. The amended legislation also aims to deter would-be animal abusers from committing acts of cruelty.

Recognizing the links between animal health and welfare and the health of our planet, the Government is also working closely with industry to transform future farming policy through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway which will forge a new deal between government and farmers to promote healthier and higher standards. The Pathway will pay farmers to improve animal health and welfare, reduce carbon emissions, and slow the rise of anti-microbial resistance.

The full Action Plan for Animal Welfare is available, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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