In the UK, anyone who has Animal Laws in UK lucky enough to spend time with an animal will know that they are living, feeling beings able to feel pain, fear, love and joy. The law now recognises this, with the new Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 formally recognizing animals as sentient beings and introducing a suite of welfare measures including halting most live animal exports, banning ivory, shark fins and foie gras, as well as a ban on wild animal fights. The Act also creates an animal sentience committee to ensure that the needs of animals are taken into account when developing government policy.
Paws and Regulations: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Animal Welfare and Protection
The Act also includes provisions relating to the keeping of protected animals and makes it an offence to administer any substance that may be toxic or injurious to a protected animal where a person responsible for that animal knows it is taking such a substance, or would know that it could cause harm. It is also an offence to fail to prevent another person from causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal where that other person has knowledge that an animal they are responsible for is at risk of being poisoned.
However, the scope of the Act is not as broad as it should be and should be extended to include invertebrates, as scientific evidence now exists to support their sentience. In addition, the Government should urgently review and extend legislation preventing cruelty to farm animals, to include the exploitation of greyhounds and horses for races and other cruel practices.