Please help: Animal sentience law still under threat

Rabbits crammed in a cage

The Repeal Bill, which moves all European law into UK law on departure from the European Union, has left out Article 13 of the EU Treaty, which formally recognizes animals as sentient beings. This shocking omission means that, legally, British animals will no longer be deemed able to feel pain, suffer, and experience joy.

 
 

Your donation will help defend the legal status of farm animals, and stop their sentience and welfare being ignored.

 

Regular gifts are vital in the fight against factory farming. It takes time, money, and persistence to defend animals, defeat cruelty and transform the food system.

 
 
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We first identified the threat to the legal protection of animals earlier in the summer. But in response to our letters to Defra, we have now received terrible news:

Article 13 of the TFEU created a qualified obligation on the EU and Member States ‘to have full regard to the welfare of animals (as they are sentient beings)’ when formulating and implementing EU law. This obligation will not be preserved by the EU (Withdrawal Bill), which delivers our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

Lord Gardiner, Defra, August 2017

Article 13 is the core overarching principle for animal welfare in EU and – currently – UK law. If future British governments do not legally need to consider animal sentience, this could threaten everything Compassion supporters like you have helped to achieve in the last 50 years. Animal sentience must be incorporated into UK law.

Article 13 not only formally recognises animal sentience, but also requires countries to ‘pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals’ in their policies. If this rule ceases to apply in the UK, no future UK government will have to consider how animals are affected by policies on agriculture, fisheries, transport, research and technological development.

Your gift today could stop future governments from ignoring the needs and feelings of animals.

The fact that an animal can feel fear or joy may seem obvious to you and me. But getting this recognised in law was a massive step forward for animal welfare. This was the biggest campaign Compassion had ever run – and Article 13 underpins all of our work in Europe.

Ironically, the UK played a large part in the introduction of Article 13 to EU law. And our PM, Theresa May, has proudly described the UK as having some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. But the government’s recent actions do not match these words.

There is still time to put things right.

The Repeal Bill still needs to pass through a second and third review in the House of Commons, and receive approval from the House of Lords. But we must act fast.

With your support, we will step up the campaign to prevent future suffering for farm animals.

Right now, our priority is to lobby the Defra Secretary of State (Michael Gove) and his Ministers George Eustice and Lord Gardiner (who is officially responsible for animal welfare). Plus, we are stepping up our work to persuade individual MPs to put forward an amendment to the Repeal Bill.

It is also vital that we persuade the British public to defend the legal status of animal sentience. Compassion is the leading charity currently campaigning to protect Article 13. Already, over 50,000 people have signed our petition, but we must do more. With your help we will reach out online and through the press, enlist the help of celebrities and widespread word-of-mouth. We will prove the case for Article 13 from public support alone.

Animals can feel pain. Animals can feel joy. The sentience of animals must not be ignored. Thank you for all of your support.

Donate now

Click here for the full explanation of Article 13 and the threat to the legal status of animals.

Joanna Lumley

"Compassion in World Farming has done an amazing job in achieving real changes for millions of farm animals."

Joanna Lumley OBE

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