Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) has expressed delight at the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, saying it is “better late than never”.
However, the animal welfare group stressed that it was only giving the legislation “an ‘in principle’ very warm welcome”, as changes were needed.
Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith’s bill in Parliament formally recognise vertebrate animals as sentient beings for the first time in UK law.
The legislation will also ensure that animal sentience is taken into account when developing policy across Government through the creation of a Animal Sentience Committee which will be made up of animal experts from within the field.
CCA “warmly welcomed” the bill but insisted that there are some flaws that need addressing, including the exclusion of some animals.
“This is great news and we have been awaiting this proposed legislation for a long time but as the old saying goes, it is better late than never,” Chris Fegan, CCA chief executive, told The Catholic Universe.
“We are giving this proposed legislation an ‘in principle’ very warm welcome but there are some flaws that need addressing.
“These include extending the plans to include marine creatures such as lobsters, crabs and octopuses that seem to be currently omitted from the proposed legislation.”
Mr Fegan said CCA is also pleased to see the plans for the new Animal Sentience Committee but noted that it will be important to see who will serve on the committee.
“These are all-important issues that we look forward to discussing with Government in the coming period but overall we are extremely pleased to welcome this legislation and indeed the other animal welfare measures that HMG is hoping to bring forward in the next session of Parliament as outlined in the recent Queen’s Speech and new Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”
The Bill will underpin the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which launched last week and sets out the government’s plans to improve standards and eradicate cruel practices for animals both domestically and internationally.
Animal rights activists in London Photo: Dominika Zara/Shutterstock.