UK Parliament passes Animal Welfare Bill in ‘landmark’ move for animal rights

Author: Molly Pickering

Read Time:   |  11th April 2022

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Animal rights campaigners in the UK celebrate monumental victory following the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill passing its final hurdle in the House of Lords


Today, animal rights campaigners across the UK are celebrating as Parliament passes the Animal Welfare Bill.

The new bill recognises animals as sentient beings and includes a dedicated committee to protect their welfare.

Celebrities and protection organisations have been campaigning for weeks in the run-up to today to promote the essential bill.

Although animals were once recognised as sentient by law in the UK pre-Brexit, this legislation did not transpose once the UK formally left the EU in 2021.

Moreover, once the bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will be known as the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

Image source: Brighton Dog Photography via Getty Images

Image source: Brighton Dog Photography via Getty Images


UK Animal Welfare Bill

In addition to recognising that animals have feelings, the Animal Welfare Bill will see the formation of an Animal Sentience Committee.

The Animal Sentience Committee will have the freedom to scrutinise any government policy that deals with animal welfare.

Furthermore, this board also has the freedom to publish reports on its findings.

Since the original law was dropped, the Better Deal for Animals group was formed to campaign to reinstate the Bill.

This alliance brought the UK’s leading animal organisations together, including RSPCA, and Humane Society UK.

In a statement, Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society UK said: “It’s exactly 200 years since the UK’s first animal welfare law, so the Sentience Act is a fantastic anniversary gift to animals.

“This legislation has enormous public support, and we’re delighted and relieved to see it complete its journey through Parliament.”

Additionally, Actress and activist Joanna Lumley, who campaigned to bring the law back, said: “Anyone lucky enough to share their life with an animal knows what rich emotional lives they can lead, and how much our actions can affect their wellbeing, for better or worse.

“I am delighted that this new law will mean that sentient animals, including beautiful sea creatures like lobsters and octopus, will be treated with greater respect and care.”

Inspired to help in the fight to end animal cruelty? 
Here are 8 ways you can help animals

Feature image source: Anita Kot via Getty Images

Written by

Molly Pickering

Molly is the Digital Executive and former podcast host at Anthem's Vegan Food & Living, she also works across other titles including Women's Running and Classic Pop to create affiliate content for the website. Starting out as a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Vegan Food & Living in 2021, within 14 months Molly was shortlisted for ‘Best Editorial Assistant’ at the BSME Talent Awards 2022 and won the BCS Special Recognition award for Digital Marketing Apprentice of the Year in 2022

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