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Celebrities unite to urge MPs to back Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bil

News Section Icon Published 01/03/2022

Cow and pig eating grass together outside

Several celebrities have joined forces with leading farm animal welfare charity, Compassion in World Farming, to urge MPs to ensure that the Government passes the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill next week, meaning animal sentience will once again be enshrined in UK Law.

Famous supporters of the charity, including actor Dame Joanna Lumley, TV Dragon Deborah Meaden, TV vet Dr. Marc Abraham OBE and Made in Chelsea star Verity Bowditch, have helped by pledging their support for the Bill to become law. The Bill is due to have its final stages in Parliament on 7th March. If passed, it will require the UK Government to consider the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings when making and implementing policies.

Long-time patron of the charity and actor, Dame Joanna Lumley, helped Compassion’s steadfast campaigning efforts in the 1990s when the charity handed over one million signatures to the European Commission, calling for animals to be recognised as sentient beings, able to experience feelings such as pain, joy, and suffering. This resulted in the recognition of animal sentience in EU law and required that this be given full regard in the formulation and implementation of policy. However, since January 2021, following the UK’s departure from the EU, this important protection was lost, and farm animals were seen only as ‘goods’ in the eyes of the law.

“Having fought for so many years, alongside Compassion, to see animal sentience recognised in EU law, it is a travesty that since January 2021, animals have not been recognised as sentient beings here in the UK,” said Dame Joanna Lumley. “This just cannot continue.”

Vet, author and campaigner, Dr Marc Abraham OBE, who is also backing the Bill, added: “Science shows that just like us, animals are aware of their feelings and emotions. As a media vet and animal welfare campaigner, I feel it is crucial that MPs support the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill as it progresses through parliament to ensure animal sentience is re-established in UK law - helping to protect animals now and into the future”.

The charity will continue to urge parliament to ensure animal sentience is once again fully regarded as the Bill passes through the final stages of debate.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Compassion in World Farming’s Media Team: email or call 01483 521 615.

Notes to Editors:

  1. View a timeline of Compassion’s work on animal sentience.
  2. See quotes from other celebrities supporting the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill below:

Arthur Parkinson, writer and gardener

“As an animal lover and as an owner of a brood of hens, to me it is obvious that animals are thinking, feeling beings and deserve legal recognition of this. That’s why I’m calling on MPs to support the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill to ensure that the lawfully acknowledges animals as sentient”.  

Deborah Meaden, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den Investor

“I have been proud to support Compassion’s tireless campaigning, alongside other NGOs, to ensure animal sentience is still recognised in UK law following the UK’s departure from the EU. As a nation of animal lovers, we should not expect anything less than granting sentient beings the legal recognition they unequivocally deserve. It now falls to MPs to support the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and re-established animal sentience in UK law.”

Verity Bowditch, Clean Kitchen Co-Founder and Made in Chelsea star

We can all see our pets have feelings, anyone who has seen a lamb running through a field wouldn’t doubt that farm animals have the same feelings. That’s why it’s crucial UK lawfully acknowledges animals are sentient beings, to ensure they are fairly treated.”

Zanna Van Dijk, entrepreneur and lifestyle content creator

“Spending time with my beautiful cat Bella makes it clear, animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling pain, joy and fear. For the past year, since our departure from the EU, UK law has ceased to recognise animal sentience. That’s why it’s imperative MPs support the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill and help end this injustice”.


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