Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th April 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to provide for animal sentience in law; and if so, whether the definition of animals in that law (1) will be the same as that for vertebrates in theĀ Animal Welfare Act 2006, and (2) will include decapods and cephalopods.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

This Government has a manifesto commitment to introduce new laws on animal sentience, which we will do as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The current science is clear that vertebrates can experience pain and suffering. It is on that basis that the definition of "animal" in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is limited only to vertebrates. Defra has commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in decapods and cephalopods. This review is expected to report shortly.

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