Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, calls on the government to ensure the legal protection of animal welfare in the event of the UK leaving the European Union...
Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty imposes a clear obligation on governments to pay due regard to the welfare requirements of animals, as sentient beings, when formulating and implementing law and policy in areas of EU competence.
This was not converted into UK law by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
There is clear cross-party support for the government to act swiftly to implement this obligation. 76 MPs from all sides of the House have banded together to sign this Private Members’ Bill, put forward by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavillion.
It is imperative that this is expanded to include all policy areas, to make it applicable to all public bodies and to implement it through a transparent, accountable and independent process to ensure that animals' welfare needs are met when formulating future policy.
Whilst it is welcome that the government have made assurances that welfare standards will be maintained or even improved in the event of the UK leaving the EU, it is vital that they table the Animals Welfare (Sentience) Bill without further delay.
Wera said: “Animal welfare cannot be another casualty of Brexit. I call on the government to introduce the correct legislation to ensure that the interests and security of all animals are appropriately protected. It is excellent to see MPs working together cross-party on this issue, and surely it’s a question of when and not if we will see this legal protection.”
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