Thank you for contacting me about the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. You’ll be delighted to know that I’m a very strong supporter of this Bill.
I am pleased that the UK has consistently led the way on animal welfare issues, being one of the first to recognise in law that animals can feel pain and suffering through the Animal Welfare Act and also committing to end excessively long journeys for live animal exports.
Now that the UK has left the EU, we can go even further to promote animal welfare by making sure that all Government departments consider animal sentience in policy. The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which is making its way through Parliament, enshrines the recognition that animals are sentient in domestic law. It also creates a proportionate accountability mechanism to help reassure that central government policymaking takes this into account.
I am encouraged that this Bill will create an Animal Sentience Committee with experts which will produce reports on how well policy decisions have paid all due regard to the welfare of animals. The relevant minister must then respond to reports via statements to Parliament. From now on, Ministers will need to be ready to show that the needs of animals have been considered in relevant policy decisions. This much awaited reform applies to all policy areas and to all stages of Government policy making and implementation which is not explicitly devolved.
I welcome that these reforms will also underpin the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which contains upwards of forty valuable reforms. I know that this Government is committed to maintaining very high standards of animal welfare and I am delighted that this piece of legislation has now, with my active support, passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking