Animals must be formally recognized as sentient beings in British law for the first time, in a big win for activists and animal rights activists.
The British government has established a number of animal welfare measures including the arrest of most of the exports of live animals and a ban on the import of hunting trophies. The reforms will be introduced through a series of bills, including a Animal Sensitivity Bill which will cover both pet and farm animals.
Some of the measures, including microchipping for cats and a ban on having primates as pets, were ready for several years and others, such as the restriction of exports of live animals, have been the subject of ten-year campaigns.
George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the Environment, says, “We are a nation of animal lovers and we were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. As an independent nation, we are now able to move further than ever on this issue. "
Some of the measures on animal welfare
The Animal Welfare Action Plan includes measures that will result in the tough repression of theft of pets. Controversies will be prohibited electronic collars which provide an electric shock to train pets, and the import rules will be changed for stop the smuggling of puppies.
Also the illegal hare hunting will be subject to more severe penalties and theuse of traps it will be limited. In response to Farmers' concerns about maverick dogs in the countryside during lockdowns, the police will be given new powers to protect farm animals from dogs.
The use of cages for poultry and pigs will be subjected to examinations and evaluations, and farmers will receive incentives and grants to improve animal health and welfare.
A long battle
James West, senior policy manager of the Compassion in World Farming association, applauds the laws and recalls how these are the subject of decades of battles. “We have long been calling for British legislation that recognizes animals as sentient beings. We are also happy that the government has confirmed upcoming bans, long overdue, on exports of live animals for slaughter and fattening. We have been campaigning for this for decades: it is time for this cruel and useless trade to end ”.
The next milestones for the animals
West is now calling on the British government to go even further, banning economic agreements of any kind that include, for example, the import and sale of foie gras. It also calls for a complete ban on cages for the 16 million UK sows and laying hens still kept in cages.
These positive announcements must be supported by a comprehensive production labeling method. It is essential that the government ensure that these improvements in animal welfare are not compromised by future trade agreements.James West
Respect for the welfare of animals is not only fair to them, but also to ours. Read how these also play a role in fighting climate change and public health problems, such as pandemics and antibiotic-resistant diseases.