On Monday 16th March, Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, spoke at the Sentience and Welfare of Animals and Caging of Farm Animals debates in Parliament. Sir David is a life-long supporter of animal welfare and a champion for animal rights.
In his first speech, Sir David congratulated an increasing number of Parliamentarians for being interested in animal welfare issues as he recognised animals as sentient due to the science proving they can experience pain, suffering, fear, joy and comfort. Sir David used his second speech on the caging of farm animals to say great progress has already been made but there is more to be done and pledges his support for the Compassion in World Farming to end the cruel suffering of animals in cages.
Having left the European Union, the UK will have more freedom to govern its own animal welfare and animal rights laws; however, we must do this responsibly and recognise animals as sentient beings as they are currently recognised in EU law. 80% of current animal welfare legislation comes from the EU and we need to, at the very least, uphold this standard but ideally progress it. That will include improving the welfare of animals during transportation, banning the caging of animals and prohibit the import of products with low welfare standards.
Sir David said “it is unacceptable that animals are kept in appalling conditions and that the evidence that they experience fear and pain is ignored” and “industries such as farming must recognise the sentience of animals”. He gave evidence of the cruel treatment of animals by pointing to the fact that “there are currently 500,000 sows in the UK and 50% of them are in cages” and they are put “in farrowing crates to limit their movements when giving birth”.
Sir David concluded by saying “Luxembourg has already banned the use of enriched cages” and “Austria and Germany are beginning to phase them out” and “I want the United Kingdom to influence the rest of the world through our already high standards” and “lead the way and enshrine animal sentience in law”.