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THE FEAR OF THE ‘LORDS’: Animal rights activists should be banned from sitting on UK animal sentience committee

The committee’s aim would be to scrutinize whether Ministers had paid due regard to their policies’ adverse effect on the welfare of animals as sentient beings.

ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Anyone who has been involved in animal rights groups should be banned from sitting on a powerful new ‘animal sentience’ committee, peers have said, amid concerns over activists hijacking controversial new legislation. An amendment specifying the ban is planned for the Animal Welfare Sentience Bill to avoid Government laws being sabotaged by ‘vocal and well-funded animal rights groups’…

One of the key measures of the Bill, currently passing through the House of Lords, will be to establish the committee which will have powers to scrutinise all current and past legislation, in all departments… The committee’s aim would be to scrutinise whether Ministers had paid due regard to their policies’ ‘adverse effect on the welfare of animals as sentient beings’…

The Bill is designed to legally recognise vertebrate animals as sentient beings, and ensure their needs are taken into consideration across all Government policies. It will create a committee of animal welfare experts to provide advice on how policies have taken into account the welfare of animals. Government sources said there would be no binding direct new requirement on Ministers to always accept these recommendations. Defra said: ‘In Scotland, an Animal Sentience Commission provides technical and scientific advice. This Bill introduces a similar mechanism for the UK Government’…

Peers say that in its current form it will have open-ended powers, not limited in scope or timeframe… MPs, peers, donors and countryside groups have warned that the committee could seek to block infrastructure projects or development that damage areas populated by deer, badgers or squirrels… Lord Mancroft, who plans to table the amendment to block animal rights activists from sitting on the committee, said: ‘You cannot have the lunatics run the asylum.’ SOURCE…

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