Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from

Can Legislation for Animals Offer Liberty for Humans? The Passing of UK's Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill

From Claire Bass, SARX: For All God's Creatures
July 2022

With our sense of personal freedom intimately entwined with how we treat the other, could it be argued that animal advocacy is a form of human advocacy?

a thinking Primate
Juan Rumimpunu-unsplash

In recent months, animal protection organisations have been celebrating the passing of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, this new piece of UK law will be known as the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

The passage of the Bill is welcomed by Better Deal for Animals, an alliance of 50 of the UK’s leading animal advocacy organisations including the Humane Society International UK, whose Executive Director, Claire Bass, has spoken to Sarx about the Bill.

Claire, who has been spearheading efforts to see animal sentience ratified in UK law, defines sentience as “the ability of animals to have feelings, both positive and negative and experience emotions” and explains that this gives rise to our duty to care.

Scientific study tells us that vertebrates, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, are sentient and these animals were all included within the original draft of the Bill. Nonetheless, during its passage, the scope of the Bill was extended to include octopuses, crabs and lobsters, largely in response to a report by the London School of Economics. [1]

The new law will see the formation of an Animal Sentience Committee which will act as an accountability mechanism to ensure the government pays due regard to animal welfare in policymaking and is empowered to publish reports on its findings.



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