Government must go further to ensure animal rights protected after Brexit, say activists

Green MP Caroline Lucas argues apromise to protect animal welfare in a future bill is not enough.

Campaigners have warned that the Government’s approach to “animal sentience” still risks weakening legal protections after Brexit  - writes

Green MP Caroline Lucas said ministers had to do more than simply giving “some promise” to protect in a future law the idea that animals are conscious and can feel pain.

The British Veterinary Association also underlined the importance of the UK retaining EU-style laws that force ministers to consider animal welfare when legislating.

It follows a Commons vote last week, which saw MPs reject Ms Lucas’ proposal to use the EU withdrawal Bill to bring into UK law, Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty – explicitly recognising animal sentience and making it a duty of the state to do so.

Following an outcry from animal rights groups, the Government pledged on Thursday to recognise the concept in a future piece of British legislation.

But responding on BBC Radio 4’sTodayprogramme, Ms Lucas said: “I’m very glad that in the last 24 hours [Environment Secretary] Michael Gove and others have been rapidly backpedalling and admitting that [sentience is not already fully protected in UK law].

“What the Government should have said is, ‘yeah, you’re right, this is an important principle’.

“If they didn’t like the way my amendment was worded… then what they would normally say is ‘look we will bring forward our own amendment’…but it needs to be in this EU withdrawal Bill, not just some promise of some future bill.”

Gudrun Ravetz, senior vice president of the British Veterinary Association, explained on the same programme that existing UK law only puts a duty to protect animal welfare on owners or keepers, whereas Article 13 puts it on the state.

She said: “If we didn’t have the principle of Article 13 brought in, then there wouldn’t be that duty on the state to pay full regard to animal welfare.”

With concern rising that Brexit may be used as an excuse to weaken animal welfare protections, Mr Gove promised to ensure the concept of sentience is recognised “after we leave the EU”.

On Friday Mr Gove repeated that the Government endorsed the idea of animals sentience, but claimed allowing Ms Lucas’ plan to bring the relevant EU laws on to British statute would create “legal uncertainty”.

Instead, he said the public should “judge us by our actions”, adding: “It’s better to have an absolutely well designed piece of UK legislation, than a poorly designed piece of EU legislation.”

Asked later to explicitly commit that the legislation would be brought in before Brexit day, he said:“The most important thing to do is to make sure we can carry forward enhanced protection.”

Pressed again as to whether there might be a gap between Brexit and new UK laws being passed, he said only: “I don’t think that there will be a gap, because I think what we are going to do is ensure that we have stronger protection written into law in order to ensure that there is no gap.”

Read also more news of London on our site.
activists ensureanimalrightsprotected London
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in october
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Nearly 150 County of Lambton paramedics are no longer responding to non-emergency calls amid ongoing negotiations for a new contract. Job action as of last Saturday means Lambton County paramedics won’t be doing non-urgent transfers between hospitals for the next while, or keeping ambulance stations as neat and tidy, a union spokesperson says. Nearly 150 Lambton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics represented by SEIU Healthcare Local 1 stopped resp...
Clapham Junction has been named London’s worst mainline train station for disruption in a survey by leading consumer title Which? Fifty-seven per cent of trains have been late or cancelled at the south London interchange since the beginning of the year, their research found. Their study found King’s Cross was the second worst, with 51 per cent of trains delayed or cancelled, followed by Victoria (47 per cent), Stratford (44 per cent) and London Bridge (44...
Tube drivers on the Piccadilly Line are set to hold fresh 24-hour strike action in a row over staffing and working conditions. The RMT Union has urged members to walk out at 12:00 BST on 7 November until noon the following day - writes The union's general secretary Mick Cash said it had become "frustrated" with Tube bosses' handling of a "full raft of issues". Transport for London (TfL) said it was "disappointed" with the new strike. Drivers on the...
The Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are calling for a premium to fund arts classes in England's schools. The major arts institutions say league tables and pressures on time and budgets are squeezing out important creative subjects - writes Six thousand 11 to 18-year-olds have described how the subjects help build their confidence, in new research. The government says it is investing almost £500m in arts and music. Creative subjects hav...
Five teenagers have been jailed for fatally stabbing a man in an unprovoked attack as he returned home from an appointment with his pregnant partner. Daniel Frederick, 34, was knifed repeatedly by the group just yards from his home in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Three teenagers were convicted of murdering Mr Frederick while another two were found guilty of manslaughter. They were jailed at the Old Bailey for a combined total of at least 64 years. Judge Phili...
Work at a building site near London's Olympic Park has stopped after complaints about "horrendous" smells. Nearby Mossbourne Academy said its students felt sick and local residents spoke of headaches because of smells coming from the site in Hackney Wick. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) told Telford Homes to stop work last month until a new plan to "manage the site" was approved. The LLDC and Telford Homes claimed there was no health risk....
Ten of Britain's busiest railway stations have seen over half of all train services delayed by a minute or more this year, research has revealed - writes Manchester Oxford Road had the least punctual services, with 68% delayed. Data analysis by consumer group Which? found York, Gatwick Airport and Birmingham New Street also saw less than 40% of trains arrive on time. The group said even small delays could have "a knock-on effect" on passengers' abi...
Two more east London schools have closed because of an infestation of false widow spiders. John F Kennedy Special School, which has campuses in Stratford and Beckton, and Godwin Junior School, in Forest Gate, announced they would close. False widows are about the size of a 50p coin and are the most dangerous spider species in the UK. Four secondary schools and four primary schools, all in Newham, have closed for various amounts of time. Thousands of childr...
London Abused Women’s Centre says an anti-sex-trafficking online ad campaign that drew scores of calls for help from women and girls was so successful, it's already planning another. London Abused Women’s Centre says an anti-sex-trafficking online ad campaign that drew scores of calls for help from women and girls was so successful, it’s already planning another. The online ads, targeting both possible trafficking victims and sex buyers, appeared or were v...