British lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill recognizing animals as sentient beings, paving the way for further reforms as part of the government’s animal welfare action plan. Some of the proposals include bans on shipping live animals and bans on shark fins, ivory and the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals.
A press release issued on Friday by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘By enshrining sensitivity in national law in this way, any new legislation will have to take into account that animals can experience feelings such as pain or joy. “The proposed law would create an animal sensitivity committee that would examine the effects of potential policies on animal health and safety.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said the legislation “is just the first step in our flagship animal welfare action plan that will further transform the lives of animals in this country”.
The action plan outlines several measures involving restrictions on international trade, including rules against the smuggling of puppies and imported fur. There will also be a crackdown on advertising for services that do not match the country’s animal welfare values. This is intended to “direct tourists to tourist attractions involving animals cared for and treated properly”.
Other suggested policies include a ban on certain impact collars and pet microchip requirements. There will also be new food labeling guidelines designed to allow consumers to make more informed choices. The report also mentions that the government will conduct a further investigation into the use of farrowing cages for pigs and poultry cages.