Good news on animal sentience but action needed on huge-scale suffering

Posted on the 12th December 2017

Today (December 12), the government has published a draft bill that will formally recognise animals as sentient beings. Importantly, it will state that the government ‘must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy’. The draft bill would also increase maximum prison sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years.

Says Animal Aid Director, Isobel Hutchinson:

‘These developments are undoubtedly positive, and we certainly welcome both the recognition of animals as sentient and the extension of sentences for animal cruelty. However, the unpalatable truth is that animals in the UK are exploited and killed on a massive scale – they are treated as objects and not sentient beings who are capable of suffering.

‘Every year, millions of animals are reared and slaughtered for food, experimented on in laboratories, or shot out of the sky for no more than sport. Undercover investigations have repeatedly revealed the horrors that these animals are subjected to. If we really accept that animals are capable of suffering, then how can we justify the many ways in which they are abused? We do not need to eat animals or shoot them for sport, and animal experiments are a crude and unreliable method of carrying out scientific research.

‘We would urge anyone who agrees that animals are sentient to take action today and drop animal products. It has never been easier to go vegan and make a positive difference for animals.’

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