Thank you very much indeed for your email regarding animal sentience. I read your email very carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I’m afraid that, as a matter of principle and like many other MPs, I don’t sign EDMs because they have no real parliamentary function and yet are very expensive to administer. Nonetheless, I absolutely agree with you that animals are sentient beings who can feel pain and suffering, and I would like to reassure you that strong action is being taken to reduce their risk of harm.
You will be pleased to know that the Government is committed to making any necessary changes to UK law in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is legally recognised once the UK leaves the EU. This also includes ensuring the UK has an effective means of making sure that animal sentience is reflected in future policy decisions. I still remember with regret the outrageous false accusations and ridiculous ‘fake news’ campaign and ‘twitterstorm’ by political opponents (and, if I recall correctly, perhaps one ‘campaigning’ charity that should have known much better), a year or two ago about animal sentience. So I do know how important it is that these real facts about the Government’s position become known and so that malicious slanders are treated with the disdain they deserve.
Encouraging action is already being taken to improve animal welfare at home and abroad such as, increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty, banning third party sales of puppies, and introducing one of the world's toughest bans on ivory sales. I believe these very welcome steps demonstrate exactly how seriously this Government takes animal welfare, and once we have left the EU, we could do even more.
We are a nation that cares deeply for animals and I am pleased with the commitments we have made to make Brexit work not just for citizens, but for animals too.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to me and for bringing your own personal thoughts and views to my attention.
With best wishes.
Member of Parliament for Woking