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A victory for the UK’s animals

News Section Icon Published 12/12/2017

Two goat kids rubbing noses

We are delighted to share that overnight the British government announced that it would be introducing a Bill in parliament that will ensure that they will pay ‘regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy’.

Government responds to public pressure

Compassion was instrumental in securing recognition of animals as ‘sentient beings’ in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, as Article 13 of the Treaty requires Member States to ‘pay full regard’ to animal welfare - yet to our dismay, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill would not have adopted this principle.

Following our petition which gained over 155,000 signatures in support of maintaining animals’ status as sentient beings, the government’s announcement means that legal recognition of animal sentience will now be permanently incorporated into British law post-Brexit.

Emma Slawinski our Director of Campaigns said: “Compassion warmly welcomes the government's response to our supporters and the many others who urged retention of animal sentience in British law. The duty on government to pay regard to the fact that animals are sentient beings when formulating and implementing policy is an important legal principle and we welcome the announcement that this will continue to be a cornerstone of our animal welfare laws as we leave the EU.

“This is a victory for British animals and we are delighted that Mr Gove has listened.”

As the draft Bill goes through Parliament we will continue to work with Government and MPs to ensure the strongest protection for British animals.