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Animal Welfare Animal Welfare

Bring in new laws on animal sentience

Last updated 3 weeks ago

We will bring in new laws on animal sentience.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.54

Our verdict

  • This is a promise to introduce laws regarding animal sentience (this term means animals have the capacity to experience feelings such as pleasure and pain). As of 31 December 2020, EU laws which govern this area no longer apply to the UK.
  • A House of Commons debate on this subject was held in March 2020, in which MPs expressed concerns that the issue was being kicked into the long grass.  However, in response to a written question in October 2020, the government said it remains committed to this policy, that necessary legislative changes will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows, and that “Defra is continuing to engage closely with stakeholders to further refine the Government’s proposals on animal sentience”.
  • No new laws have been introduced, and concerns about the government’s intentions appear valid, but the combination of the restatement of commitment, the indication that legislation is pending, and a declaration of ongoing work towards fulfilment of this pledge means that, for now, this policy is ‘in progress’.

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.

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