Labour Party renews calls to enshrine animal sentience in law

The Labour Party’s has called for a renewed drive for animal sentience to be embedded in legislation.

As part of its 50-point Animal Welfare Manifesto for Government, Labour is urging the Government to embed the principle in law as quickly as possible, to impose a duty on the state to have due regard for animal welfare in developing and implementing all future policy. 

It also said it supported “a move away from highly intensive, environmentally damaging farming methods and is committed to promoting best practice in cruelty-free animal husbandry and to ensuring better enforcement of agreed standards.”

“Labour will seek to end the ‘cage age’ of outdated farming practices that cause animals distress and restrict natural behaviour. We will provide meaningful support for farmers moving to higher welfare standards,” the new document states.

The British Veterinary Association welcomed the commitment to enshrine sentience. Simon Doherty, BVA President, said: “It’s good to see sentience near the top of Labour’s very wide-ranging list of animal welfare priorities for Government, and we hope that they will note the renewed impetus behind enshrining this fundamental principle of how society should treat all species into law as quickly as possible.

“There is considerable and long-standing professional and public feeling behind the campaign to enshrine sentience, which makes it all the more disappointing that it still hasn’t been given the go-ahead despite government assurances that they are committed to the legislation and underpinning principles.  Parliamentary time may be tighter than ever before, but there is a golden opportunity here to make the UK’s status as a global leader on animal welfare resoundingly clear.

“We’re also pleased that the Labour Party echoes many of BVA’s concerns and campaigning priorities in other points of this extensive document.  We will continue to engage closely with parties and stakeholders to keep momentum up at this crucial time on the issues that matter most to our members.”

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