A new law was today published by the government to say that it must treat animals as “sentient beings” when it makes laws in future.
Michael Gove MP promised to “make Brexit work not just for citizens but for the animals we love and cherish too”.
The welcome draft law also increases the maximum sentence for serious animal cruelty to five years in jail and states that the government “must have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”.
Gove said: “Animals are sentient beings who feel pain and suffering, so we are writing that principle into law and ensuring that we protect their welfare. Our plans will also increase sentences for those who commit the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to five years in jail”.
One area not discussed however was the slaughtering of animals for Halal which many animal rights campaigners see as barbaric when the method of non-stunning is used and argue that it is extremely cruel.
To date there is nothing to stop this practice within the UK due to its membership with the EU that states “EU legislation grants exceptions from stunning for religious groups…”
The rise in Halal meat being common place in the British food-chain has caused alarm for many.
“We absolutely are not demanding people be forced to eat non-halal meat, but we do, and rightly so, insist that farm animals are treated with dignity. If someone will only eat meat procured by a form of slaughter that is abusive to animals, better they avoid eating meat at all. It is as simple as that,” Luke Nash-Jones, Director of the People’s Charter Foundation said in support of a Lancashire council voting to ban schools from serving non-stunned halal meat.
Many have criticised the RSPCA’s lack of support on this issue suggesting the charity is worried about its funding but today David Bowles, the RSPCA’s head of public affairs, said the plans were “potentially great news” for animals post-Brexit.
He said: “To include the recognition of animal sentience as well as increasing animal cruelty sentencing to five years into the new 2018 Animal Welfare Bill is a very bold and welcome move by the government.”
The law comes after a recent vote by Lancashire Council to ban halal food in its schools.
Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of MBGA News.
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