The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill was introduced in parliament on May 13, in the United Kingdom. It aims to legally recognize animals as sentient beings. A new animal welfare bill became necessary when the UK decided to leave the EU. They also rejected using the “Lisbon Treaty” which is followed by the EU. This new bill requires the government to take animal welfare into account when making policy choices.
The UK to finally recognize animals as Sentient Beings :
The introduction of this bill means that any new laws must address the fact that animals have feelings too. Their lives matter to them and to us. They are both capable of experiencing joy and happiness, as well as pain and misery. We must ensure that animals are given the same level of care and are not treated as resources. This new law helps better the animal rights scenario in the UK.
50 animal charities unified and urged the UK Government to use this opportunity to reshape the country’s connection with animals. This group’s attempt to improve animal rights laws was recorded in a report titled “Action For Animals.”
The report will inform policy changes and offer resources to government agencies so that laws governing animal commerce, treatment, and protection may be enforced and upheld. The government must now treat all animals as sentient beings. The Animal Sentience Committee (made up of animal experts) can hold ministers responsible for violations of animal care. The report’s 40 guidelines call for kinder treatment of farm animals, pets, and wildlife.
What changes will this bill bring?
This series of bills will bring reforms in animal welfare. It will outline the rights afforded to animals in the UK and abroad. It also includes a ban on the sale of live animals and the import of trophy hunting goods. The research also recommends more fair space standards for farm animals kept in cramped cages. The ban is also on keeping primates as pets, as their specific needs are more than most UK homes can provide. Cruel devices like glue traps will be prohibited. They endanger the lives of birds, cats, and other animals.
The government must provide local governments with the tools they need to implement the new laws. Future laws will consider the ties between animal welfare and the climate crisis. This will help formulate future agricultural policies in a way that benefits the world. The government will provide incentives to farmers for good animal health and welfare practices. This practice will make sure people will treat animals as sentient beings.
Comparisons with Lisbon treaty
So, does the UK bill make the Lisbon Treaty better? On one side, the UK bill is more concrete in many ways than the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty does not require the formation of animal sentience committees or member states to respond to such committees. It also doesn’t state that the treaty applies to all vertebrates. The inclusion of these elements does increase transparency.
The UK bill, on the other hand, is still unclear or weak in key areas. Who will serve on the Animal Sentience Committee, for example? How often will the committee’s reports be released? Is it possible for these papers to explore how to make animals happy or less miserable? What would the government’s reaction be to these results?
As a result, it’s also uncertain what the UK bill would mean for animals. It is very symbolic as it supports the belief that animals are living beings. It ensures that not being able to express what they feel won’t disadvantage them anymore. They deserve to have their needs considered when making decisions that concern them. Repeating this concept alone might not be enough to bring about improvement. But, it can certainly help.
The UK animal sentience bill is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Also Read: Animals that are Extinct in the Last Decade due to Humans.