UK Government Promises to Recognize Animal Sentience

Environment Secretary Michael Gove issues an official statement pledging to protect animals in the United Kingdom after its withdrawal from the European Union.

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United Kingdom Environment Secretary Michael Gove issued an official statement last week wherein he pledged that the country would uphold the highest standards of animal welfare after its withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Last week, members of Parliament voted to drop EU legislation governing the welfare of animals, inciting widespread backlash from animal-rights organizations. In his statement, Gove explained that EU legislation is not the “right legislative vehicle” to protect animals, which he promised the government would recognize as sentient. “This government will ensure that any necessary changes required to UK law are made in a rigorous and comprehensive way to ensure animal sentience is recognized after we leave the EU,” Gove said. “Once we have left the EU, there is even more we could do. EU rules prevent us from restricting or banning the live export of animals for slaughter.” Gove explained that once the UK fully withdraws from the EU, the country will have the opportunity to enforce stricter welfare standards such as the mandatory installation of slaughterhouse surveillance cameras, harsher punishments for animal abusers, and banning the import of ivory.