To be honest, I had expected politics to win the day on this so I am absolutely delighted that the Conservative cabinet has decided to support the motion. It is hard to express how strongly I feel about it.
The possibility of the state abdicating responsibility for animal sentience could have all sorts of implications for our animals who get caught up in future trade deals and suffer horribly as a result.
It is vital that the British government retains a responsibility for animal welfare, to avoid that unacceptable suffering.
My motion was supported and so was the very important issue on timescale.
The Conservative government has made animal welfare promises in the past, such as banning wild animals in circuses. Unfortunately, years later, wild animals sadly still remain in circuses. It’s very important that the government is held to account on every single promise it makes, especially to improve the lives of its citizens and those who cannot speak up for themselves – animals.
The cabinet has put politics aside here and made the right decision.
The cabinet’s resolution is as follows:
(a) that the Council be recommended to write to the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) stating that it is encouraged by the Government’s subsequent clarification on its position relating to sentience and its commitment to enshrining higher animal welfare standards into UK law;
(b) that the Council notes the subsequent publication of the draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill; and
(b) that, as a predominantly rural area where farming and agriculture are of critical importance to the local economy, the Council strongly backs the calls from the British Veterinary Association and others to commit to an appropriate timeframe giving certainty to the reinstatement of the protocol in Article 13; not only recognising animal sentience but also enshrining a duty of responsibility on the state for animal welfare.
My motion is below:
“This Council is disappointed that the Government voted to omit an important clause in EU law relating to animal sentience, as part of the Withdrawal Bill.
“This Council is encouraged by the Government’s subsequent clarification on its position relating to sentience and its commitment to enshrining higher animal welfare standards into UK law.
“However, this Council backs calls from the British Veterinary Association to commit to an appropriate timeframe to reinstate the vital obligation in EU law in Article 13, on the STATE being responsible for animal welfare, in addition to UK law, which states that only the KEEPER of the animal is responsible’.”
Pic: My daughter’s cockapoo, Molly.