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Better Deal for Animals

The Government has committed to using Brexit to make the UK ‘a world leader on animal welfare’. Between 2017 and 2022 over 50 of the leading animal protection groups joined forces to campaign for a strong law to recognise animal sentience, which was delivered through the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022. 


Animal sentience refers to a truth evident to anyone who has looked after animals; that they can feel and experience emotions such as joy, pleasure, pain and fear.

When the UK was a member of the European Union, Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognised animals as sentient beings and imposed a duty on Member States to pay regard to their welfare requirements in formulating and implementing policy. As a result of Brexit, this specific recognition of animal sentience fell out of UK law.

The Better Deal for Animals coalition came together to press government to pass a new post-Brexit Animal Sentience Act to replace and improve on the EU duties. Thanks to the support of dedicated campaigners, our 2019 petition for an animal sentience law reached over 100,000 signatures (including support from Larry the Downing Street cat!) and was debated by MPs in Parliament on Monday 16 March 2020.

The Government responded by announcing an Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill in May 2021. Our briefings on the bill, from its passage through Parliament, can be found here.

A letter to the Prime Minister, sent on 15.03.22, can be found here

We are delighted that the Sentience Bill passed its last parliamentary hurdle on 07.04.22. Our press release can be found here.  

The Bill became the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act on 28.04.2022. 


Become a WCL member

Membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link is open to national and international voluntary or other non-profit organisations based in England. Member organisations must be able to demonstrate an interest in furthering the work of Link, and their aims must include the protection of wildlife, landscape and the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Individual members of the public are not eligible to join Link, but may be interested in joining one of Link's member organisations.

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