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Brexit: Ministers warned not to weaken animal welfare laws after UK leaves EU

Thirty-six groups have joined forces to call for animal sentience, the ability to feel pain and emotion, to be enshrined in UK law, as it is in the EU.

JANE DALTON: ‘Ministers have been warned not to water down animal protection laws after Brexit, as a poll found eight in 10 people believed they should be maintained or strengthened when Britain leaves the European Union (EU). Thirty-six groups have joined forces to call for animal sentience – the ability to feel pain and emotion – to be enshrined in law, as it is in the EU. The survey found 86 per cent of Conservative voters, 84 per cent of Labour voters and 82 per cent of Lib Dem voters said animal welfare laws should be maintained or widened.

Under current plans, animals will receive less legal protection after Brexit, according to MPs and lobbyists, because government departments will not be obliged to consider animal sentience and welfare in new laws and policies. “The government says animals are protected by existing laws – particularly the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – but this doesn’t cover all animals, such as free living wildlife,” according to the #BetterDealForAnimals campaign…

Claire Bass, chairman of Wildlife and Countryside Link’s animal welfare group, said: “As the Brexit deadline closes in, we need a firm commitment from the government that it will recognise animal sentience in a strong law that has ‘bite’, to ensure animals do not become victims of Brexit”… A Defra spokesperson said: “We have consistently shown our commitment to reduce the risk of harm to animals. As we leave the EU we will maintain and enhance our reputation as a leader on animal welfare”.’ SOURCE…


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