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Celebrities urge MPs to back Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill

News Section Icon Published 01/03/2022

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Several of our wonderful high profile supporters have joined the fight for animal sentience to once again be enshrined into UK law, helping protect farmed animals from unnecessary pain and suffering. 

The constellation of famous supporters, including Dame Joanna Lumley, Deborah Meaden, Dr. Marc Abraham OBE and Verity Bowditch, are urging MPs to ensure the UK Government passes the Animal Welfare (Sentince) Bill in the coming weeks.  

The Bill is due to have its final stages in Parliament on 7th March. If passed, it will mean that the government must consider the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings whenever policies are made or implemented. 

Loss of protection

In the 1990s, we successfully campaigned for recognition that animals are sentient beings – able to experience feelings such as pain, joy, and suffering – to be enshrined in European law. This meant that any policies regarding animals needed to be underpinned by this recognition, to protect them from unnecessary pain and suffering and to allow them to live better lives.  

However, since 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. 

Dame Joanna Lumley, campaigned with us in the 1990s said: “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. This just cannot continue.”  

Voices of support 

We are delighted to have such steadfast support for so many of our high profile advocates, to help ensure that animals are once again granted this important legal protection and that animal sentience is given the consideration it deserves when Government make and deliver policies.

Vet, author and campaigner, Dr Marc Abraham OBE said: “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”. 

Zanna Van Dijk, entrepreneur and lifestyle content creator, agreed adding: “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”. 

Animals have feelings too

“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,” said Arthur Parkinson, rising star of the gardening world.

“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,” explained Verity Bowditch, Clean Kitchen Co-Founder and Made in Chelsea star. “That’s why it’s crucial UK law fully acknowledges animals are sentient beings, to ensure they are fairly treated.” 

Deborah Meaden, TV Dragon, added: “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.” 

Please contact your MP and ask that they support this vital legislation,  so that animals are once again given the important legal protection they deserve.


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