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Vets call for clarity on animal sentience legislation

23 Nov 2017

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The Environment Secretary Michael Gove issued a Written Ministerial Statement setting out the government's position on animal sentience after we leave the EU.

Responding to the announcement, British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz said: “While we are encouraged by Michael Gove’s statement that the government intends to ensure legislative change to recognise sentience, we are concerned that there is no indication of when or how this will happen.

“We need clarity on how legislation will capture the substantive obligation that Article 13 imposes on the EU and national governments to pay full regard to animal welfare in formulating and implementing policy in the specified areas.  

“Under the UK’s Animal Welfare Acts, accountability for the treatment of an animal, quite rightly, focuses on the owner or those who are responsible for that animal’s condition, but not on the state. Not including this provision would be a step backwards once we leave the EU. 

“BVA is keen to work with the UK governments to enshrine this principle in law and ensure it is the comprehensive piece of legislation that is needed.”

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