“Sentient – able to perceive or feel things.
synonyms: feeling, capable of feeling, living, live;”
As a cruelty-free and animals rights advocate, I feel the need to to express my rage and disappointment over the uneducated and shocking decisions that have recently been made by UK Government.
The Tories have voted not to transfer into UK law the parts of the EU legislation that recognise animals are sentient beings and cannot feel or perceive pain, fear, any emotion or understand their surroundings. Basically deeming them as property and nothing else. That’s how it seems to me anyway because this bill was passed pretty quietly and without any explanation, which has angered and upset a large percentage of the British population.
There have been a few justifications to this with some MP’s claiming that our own laws are superior to those of the EU and accepting Article 13 would be a step back from progress that has been made. For example, maximum sentences for animal cruelty has been extended from 6 months to 5 years, and CCTV is now mandatory in all slaughterhouses.
This quiets my inner shouty voice somewhat but not completely because the majority of those who voted are the pro fox hunting, pheasant shooting, game hunting snobs. We have improved sure.. but this is dangerous territory.
I, and clearly the rest of the country, want a better understanding of their choice and an explanation as to how on Earth can you extend that logic to farm animals and wildlife only and not your pets. Because domesticated animals will still be protected under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act and require care, love and those who fail to do so face (dismal) prosecution if their needs are not met. I do not understand why livestock or wildlife should be treated any differently.
If they honestly felt that this is the case, despite the never ending scientific evidence to tell them otherwise, why even bother with veterinarians, pet insurance or even basic animal care. Because in their humble, non-scientific, uneducated opinions animals (domesticated or not) don’t need it.
Proven to be smarter and more perceptive than dogs and comparatively as intelligent as a toddler, apparently cannot experience pain or be aware of their surroundings?
Have strong social bonds, are proven to have “best friends” and chase their calves for miles after they get stolen from them after birth and cry for WEEKS on end pining for them.. do not experience pain (physical or emotional)?
They have a very complicated social structures, personalities and can recognise faces.. apparently do not experience fear?
So we as a species are exclusive to this notion? Where is the evidence to support that? How can you even begin to justify that. For me, it’s as black and white as this: if you hit them, do they not cry out in pain and show fear? Yes. Well that’s them experiencing something on a sentient level. Case and point.
To exclude the status of animals as sentient beings in the EU withdrawal Bill is a massive threat to all animal welfare.. domesticated and otherwise. If what they deem as mere “property” is that irrelevant to them then I genuinely worry what they will do to the laws to protect against against animal testing, fox hunting, dog fighting and badger baiting.
Just because it’s a different species to us DOES NOT mean it doesn’t/can’t have the capacity to experience life/feelings/understand it’s surrounding. Whether it’s the same as our perception or not, we have no right to condemn them just because they don’t have a voice to speak with.
The 313 members of parliament in their ivory towers do not speak for me or the rest of the UK as it seems.
If your local representative voted against this, please write to them to get their explanation as to why and answer our questions. You can check [ here ] to see if yours is on the list. And yes, I’ve already written to my local MP, because unsurprisingly, he voted No; and I’ll be signing and sharing every petition I find until I am blue in the face.
Have Your Voice Heard
Here are a few you can sign:
I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this too. Let me know in the comments below.