Animals to be formally recognised as "sentient beings" in UK law 5 months ago

Animals to be formally recognised as "sentient beings" in UK law

The news comes after fresh animal welfare measures were announced following the Queen's speech

Animals are set to be formally recognised as 'sentient beings' in UK law, after new measures were unveiled today in the government's 'Action Plan for Animal Welfare.'

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The new measures, which hope to 'revolutionise the treatment of animals in the UK', will firstly be introduced via several bills, including the animal sentience bill.

Other animal welfare measures proposed by the government include banning the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter and banning people from importing hunting trophies from endangered animals.

Speaking of the proposals, the Environment Secretary George Eustice said: "We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws.

"Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling.

"We will lead on the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record."

In a bid to tackle 'puppy smuggling', the government has plans to change import rules.

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Among other plans to improve pet welfare, the government plans to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats, crack down on 'pet theft' through a new taskforce and banning remote controlled training e-collars.

These changes will be welcomed by animal welfare campaigners, who have called for the government to make changes for several years.

The campaign group and charity 'Compassion in World Farming' proposed several of the changes made by the government ahead of the Queen's speech.

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Senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming, James West, said: "We have long been calling for UK legislation that recognises animals as sentient beings and for sentience to be given due regard when formulating and implementing policy.

"We are also delighted the government has confirmed it will legislate for a long-overdue ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening. We have been campaigning for this for decades: it is high time this cruel and unnecessary trade is finally brought to an end."