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Sentience and Welfare of Animals — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:21 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 5:21 pm, 16th March 2020

It gives me great pleasure to respond to this very good debate on behalf of the official Opposition. There is cross-party support for enshrining animal sentience in law, and I want to express Labour’s full-hearted support for the effort to do so. We have heard powerful speeches today, but there are also community groups in each of our constituencies who engage in advocacy and campaign for 21st-century animal welfare laws. We know that what we do will make a difference to animals—domestic animals, animals in agriculture, and others—if measures are put in place correctly.

I thank my hon. Friend Kerry McCarthy for her unrelenting campaigning on this area. She has a good position on the Petitions Committee, which gives her a new platform, and will continue to use that with force, ferocity and cross-party support for as long as Ministers fail to listen to her arguments. She made a good argument today.

I congratulate the Minister. This is the first time since she has been in her new role that I have had the opportunity to speak from the Bench opposite her. I am a big fan of cross-party working, and for most animal welfare legislation there is a lot of cross-party support. Sometimes the only thing that holds us back is the ambition to achieve what cross-party support has the potential to deliver. In relation to animal sentience, we have an opportunity.