Animal Sentience

A number of constituents have contacted me about animal sentience and the #Betterdealforanimals campaign.

Animals are sentient beings who can feel pain and suffering. I have raised this important issue at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. The Government is taking strong action to reduce their of harm.

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. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently engaging with relevant organisations and authorities to further enhance its policies on this issue. 

Action being taken to improve animal welfare at home and abroad include:

  • Increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty
  • Banning third party sales of puppies
  • Introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales

The UK’s current position of full harmonisation with EU rules on pet travel means the import of puppies under 6 months cannot be banned, and the cracking down on puppy smuggling is a challenge. This is because of the difficulty in accurately identifying underage puppies at the border. However, I hope this too is something which can be better tackled once we leave the EU.

These commitments demonstrate that the Government will ensure that Brexit works not just for citizens, but animals too.