England: And What Did You Do Today ?



Mark has just completed giving responses to a UK government consultation on the first draft of a new Animal Welfare Act.   This is a unique opportunity to speak out and be a voice for the voiceless for all animals and support stronger legal protections for them in the UK.

So, an opportunity that cannot be missed.

Included in his response; Mark had called for, and justified the need for:


·         More definition in the term ‘Sentience’ when applied to all animals and their situations

·         Often, in places such as factory farms, animals do not ‘live’; they merely ‘survive’

·         The term ‘Animal’ needs much more definition; lab rats, broiler chickens, circus tigers are all ‘animals’ but their protection requirements vary greatly – hence you cannot define everything as an ‘animal’ only – more specific definition is required

·         The ‘welfare needs of animals’ should be defined explicitly in written legislation

·         UK sheep exported live in Summer in temperatures above documented maximums given as example

·         There is no ‘welfare’ for animals that travel constantly with the circus

·         Maximum sentences for animal cruelty. Definitely not strict enough.  The legal profession to have much more specific legislation as part of statute; which defines the protections which are to be given to any specific animal species which is in any specific environment.  In the UK, many judges have recently spoken out that the are only allowed to impose certain maximum sentences for animal abuse; when they would individually (and legally) be allowed to give much harsher sentences.

·         For example, if slaughterhouse workers are shown to abuse animals with UK slaughterhouse cctv legislation; then the worker to be dismissed from his job in the industry for life.

·         Much heavier financial fines to be given for animal abuse

·         A call for the ‘law enforcers’ to actually enforce the law at places such as hunt meets; where legislation is often overlooked

·         Examples of the failings of EU legislation; especially that which is supposed to ‘protect’ animals in transport (EU Regulation 1/2005) has been cited as a typical case of ‘paper’ legislation which is actually hardly ever enforced by the authorities.  You have seen our many battles with the EU authorities on live (EU) animals being exported to Turkey, for example.


Submission for the consultation finishes on 31/1/18; and so very soon now the government will start undertaking a full review of submissions.  We are currently unsure when the first new draft ‘Animal Welfare Act’ will be produced; as we appreciate there is a lot of submissions and opinions (from many different viewpoints) to be considered.

We know that this new Act will become UK legislation in the not too distant future.  And knowing the feel of the British and animal welfare, we hope that many of our viewpoints will be included in the new Act. 

We are not legal specialists by any means; but there are a couple of near future very important issues to consider:


·         The UK will be leaving the EU within the next few years – Brexit negotiations with the EU are well under way

·         When it leaves the EU, the UK will be free to establish worldwide trade agreements.


And so, if a new up to date ‘Animal Welfare Act’ is part of UK law / legislation; this will form part of a good negotiating basis for future deals around the world.  It is hoped that UK standards can be used in agreements set up with, for example, China; and that Chinese animals welfare will greatly improve as a result.  This is just one example and one hope.

The same can be said for trade deals with (current) EU member nations.  The UK will be establishing new trade deals with current EU partner states; and as such, UK animal welfare standards will be used as a ‘tool’ during future negotiations.

Who knows, this new Acorn of the Animal Welfare Act could grow into a big tree which then spreads its animal welfare branches (through new trade deals) into nations who currently do not put animal welfare much onto their list of priorities.  If they want a good deal with the UK, then hopefully they will have to change that will be the view from the UK.


Existing UK animal welfare legislation – there is already lots – check it out:

Remember that under Brexit negotiations; all existing EU animal law will become new UK (independent) law post Brexit.






The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to implement laws protecting animals. In 1822 an Act to Prevent the Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle was passed by Parliament.  The UK government has publicly stated that animals are sentient beings, not merely commodities, and has confirmed its commitment to the highest possible standards of animal welfare.

The first general animal protection law, called the Protection of Animals Act, was introduced in 1911 and updated several times since.









Finally; a few things which we keep planted somewhere in the head !!













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