Animal Sentience Row: 'There Are Still A Lot Of Questions To Answer'

The Government has denied animal welfare laws will be weaker after Brexit
This image comes from a Viva! undercover investigation (Photo: Viva!)

An animal rights expert has told PBN there are 'still some questions to be answered' in the ongoing animal sentience row.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove put out a statement yesterday promising that UK law will consider animals as sentient following a row this week.

The statement followed negative public response after MPs voted to leave an EU clause which says animals are sentient out of domestic law.

Clause 30

The amendment - clause 30 [NC30] - was submitted by Green MP Caroline Lucas. She wanted to transfer EU protocol set out in Article 13 of Title II of the Lisbon Treaty.

But the move was rejected by a slim majority of 18 - only 295 were in favor, with 313 against.

The vote led to controversy - with a number of organizations lobbying the Government to reverse the decision.


Following campaigns by the public and various groups, Michael Gove said the 'sentience of animals will continue to be recognised and protections strengthened when we leave the EU'.

He added: "This Government is committed to the very highest standards of animal welfare. As the Prime Minister has set out, we will make the United Kingdom a world leader in the care and protection of animals.

"It has been suggested that the vote last week on New Clause 30 of the EU Withdrawal Bill somehow signalled a weakening in the protection of animals - that is wrong. 

"Voting against the amendment was not a vote against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain - that is a misconception."

Juliet Gelletley is a leading voice in the animal rights and welfare movements


But according to Juliet Gellatley, founder of internation vegan group Viva!, there are still major concerns around how animals are treated now - and how they will be treated after Brexit.

She told PBN: "This [statement from Gove] came about because so many people got active for animals. Thank you! 

"There are still some questions to be answered - and we are working with other animal groups to get assurances. 

"However, it is worth considering that despite current EU/UK legislation hundreds of millions of animals in the UK are routinely used, abused and slaughtered. 

"Recognising sentience in law is very important, but we must also all take personal responsibility to end the suffering of animals - and the best way to do that is be vegan."


Gellatley is not the only person who still has concerns despite the statement.

The Green Party's Caroline Lucas - who first instigated the vote - tweeted her reaction to what Gove said.

She wrote: This Michael Gove statement is silly. If the EU Withdrawal Bill isn't the right place to transfer EU law into UK law, then what is?"

Lucas later added: "It’s a shame Michael Gove didn’t admit Minister misled Parliament during debate last week when claimed that animal sentience already fully covered by Animal Welfare Act - but very glad he’s promised a new Bill to deal with it - will keep a look out for it!"


BREAKING: Government Promises Animals 'Will Be Recognized As Sentient' After Brexit

Federal Aviation Administration Can't Stop Yellville Thanksgiving 'Turkey Drop'

MPs Voted That 'Animals Have No Sentience' - Why? And What Does This Mean?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

Reuse this content
PBN Contributor:

Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers. She was previously the editor of Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.

(c) 2019 Plant Based News LTD. All Rights Reserved. Content must not be copied without permission.

Join the conversation

Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.

It's World Vegan Day