Charities

RSPCA praises Sentience Bill, calls for ‘meaningful’ committee

The new bill includes the creation of the Sentience Committee to hold 'ministers accountable for animal welfare in policy making'

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has issued praise for the government’s new Animal Sentience Bill, which ensures animal sentience is legally recognised in the country.

The subject of animal sentience was the only issue that was not carried over as the UK left the European Union on 31 December 2020.

Furthermore, the new bill includes the creation of the Sentience Committee to hold “ministers accountable for animal welfare in policy making”, which the charity called on to be “meaningful”.

Chris Sherwood, the chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “Science shows us that many animals are sentient beings, able to experience feelings like pain or pleasure, and they should be protected in law.

“We warmly welcome the Sentience Bill and the formation of the Animal Sentience Committee so that all government departments would have to consider the impact on the welfare of sentient animals when developing any policies in any area of life.”

He added: “The issue of animal sentience has implications for all areas of human-animal interaction; if animals can have feelings, as we know they can, both their physical and mental welfare needs must be taken into account.

“This is very important with respect to laws, policies and people’s behaviour relating to animals and their welfare.”

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