Animals and Animal Sentience

I understand the concerns on this matter. I am proud that the UK has some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world, and that there is comprehensive legislation to uphold these standards now that  we have formally left the EU. In addition we have firm guidance on how best to protect the welfare of specific animals living on farms, such as hens, pigs and cattle, and I am glad that the Government has already banned cages or close confinement systems where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare.

The Government is committed to making the UK a world leader in protection of animals. This includes increasing maximum penalties for animal cruelty from six months’ to five years’ imprisonment and an update of statutory welfare codes. These codes strengthen guidance on how to meet the needs of livestock animals and enhance their welfare.

Ministers are also committed to making any necessary changes to UK law in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure that animal sentience is legally recognised. I understand that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is engaging with relevant organisations and authorities to further enhance its policies on this issue.