Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill: Don’t believe the hype

The much heralded Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill has been passed pending royal consent.

While it is a welcome addition that animals such as crabs and lobsters are explicitly recognised, a result hard fought for by dedicated campaigners, we disagree that the Act will be the earth shattering moment is it being made out to be by some.

In practice, the new legislation more or less replaces Article 13 of Title II of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which applied to the UK before leaving the EU.

Article 13 states:

In formulating and implementing the Union’s agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals…..”

What too many who cite Article 13 neglect to follow on with however is the next paragraph stating that this is to be carried out:

“…while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.”

What this effectively did was to stipulate certain actions with one breath, then in the next provide such a broad caveat that the original mandate ends up pretty much not worth the ink.

Factory farming, slaughter, bloodsports, animal experiments, live exports, the massacre of aquatic animals…..all of this and more continued unimpeded.

With regards to the new Act, it’s stated “The purpose (of the Animal Sentience Committee created through the legislation) is that of ensuring that, in any further formulation or implementation of the policy, the government has all due regard to the ways in which the policy might have an adverse effect on the welfare of animals as sentient beings.”

But then:

Recommendations made by the Committee must respect legislative or administrative provisions and customs relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.”

This is familiar.

The explanatory notes go on to state that:

The Bill recognises that animals are sentient beings and creates an accountability mechanism which aims to ensure that UK Ministers have due regard to their welfare needs when formulating and implementing government policy.”

But that this:

does not mean that the welfare of sentient animals should take precedence over other considerations when formulating or implementing a particular policy.”

There it is.

Despite the noise, despite the headlines, despite the assurances, our right to torture, slaughter, subjugate and exploit animals remains protected by the state.

What we believe is happening here is an attempt to sell us an empty box, as part of an opportunistic attempt by government to garner public support through the illusion of action.

We’re back to a situation where the sentience of animals is recognised in law, while the same law simultaneously permits their enslavement and murder.

We believe that animal organisations need to be very clear about the realities of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act. If not it’s helping politicians create a veneer of honour while they throw billions of animals onto the fire.

The words of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs sum it up:

While its (the Bill) aim is to improve the policy and decision-making processes of Government, the committee’s reports will not bind Ministers to any particular course of action. Ministers will remain free to determine the right balance between animal welfare and other important considerations.”

the right balance” being the business of misery and death continuing as usual.

 

 

* The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act will extend to the whole of the UK , but will not apply to policies implemented or formulated by Ministers in devolved administrations.

Pic credit: ASR Activism Photography

Concerns with new Scottish hunting Bill

After 20 years of the continued terrorising and slaughter of foxes, enabled by legislation full of loopholes, the Scottish Government’s solution is to propose legislation full of possible loopholes.


Although the The Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill has the potential to be terminal for the viability of fox hunts in their current form the use of dogs for hunting will still be legal under a wide range of exceptions, and provision remains to obtain licences to use multiple dogs.


These measures are at Bill stage which presents the danger of further dilution, and rest assured the bloodsports mob will be working both overtly and covertly to ensure business continues uninterrupted. At the same time this provides an opportunity to make any legislation effective and watertight.


Please keep your eye out for calls to action, and continue to give your support to the Sabs.

See Bill here

UK death toll, June 2021

95 million, 786 thousand+ animals slaughtered.

214 thousand+ cattle (5000+ calves)

962 thousand+ sheep

1 million, 10 thousand+ pigs

93 million, 600 thousand+ “poultry” birds

*Does not include other species of “livestock” slaughtered for consumption, aquatic animals, animals exported for killing, deaths on farm, deaths pre-slaughter, etc.

*Source; UK Government

UK animal experiment data for 2020 released

The greatest scientific fraud in history.

2 million 813 thousand 887 animals used.

2 million 883 thousand 310 procedures.

• 2 million 65 thousand 562 mice

• 207 thousand 997 rats

• 6 thousand and 57 guinea pigs

• 1 thousand 281 hamsters

• 194 gerbils

• 11 thousand 332 rabbits

• 105 cats

• 2 thousand 754 dogs

• 512 ferrets

• 73 Horses/ equid

• 3 thousand 207 pigs

• 40 goats

• 3 thousand 700 sheep

• 6 thousand 640 cattle

• 88 Marmosets and tamarins

• 1 thousand 463 Cynomolgus monkeys

• 167 rhesus monkeys

• 118 thousand 534 fowl

• 227 quail

• 4 thousand 563 frogs

• 371 thousand 289 fish

• 1 thousand 229 “other rodents”

• 232 “other carnivores”

• 451 “other mammals”

• 202 “other amphibians”

• 5 thousand 988 “other birds”

Fireworks consultation open until 15/8

The Scottish Government is consulting on possible further regulation with regard to fireworks.

These things are a menace and a killer.

As an animal rights charity, we have a particular interest in their well documented damaging effects on animals.

As whatever and whoever causes suffering to non-humans usually causes suffering in the wider community, we also acknowledge the damaging impact on those with dementia, war veterans, those who have experienced trauma, and others.

Taking the big picture into account, free availability of devices, and the current circumstances in which they can be discharged, is unjustifiable.

Scotland for Animals supports the introduction of the following measures;

  • Enforcement of existing legislation limiting the discharging of fireworks, e.g. under the Explosives Act.
  • A ban on the general sale of fireworks. I.e. a ban on the purchase, possession or discharging of fireworks without a licence.
  • Any devices provided, sold or discharged should be of reduced noise type.
  • Criteria for any licence to discharge should take into account any potential impacts on animal welfare, and any conviction for crimes against animals should be material in consideration of a licence to possess.
  • Further restriction on permitted times when fireworks can be discharged.
  • Stronger penalties for breaches.

We recognise that some powers relating to fireworks are reserved. We would welcome more work to devolve these with an assurance that they will be used to end the bangs, or commitment to apply pressure upon the UK government to make these changes.

We must point out however that a well worn issue is again rearing it’s head: Headline grabbing promises of action, when powers already available which could provide much remedial action are not being utilised.

We feel a commitment to enforcement of current legislation, such as the banning of discharge of fireworks in a public place, is every bit as important as any new rules.

You can see the consultation documents here. You don’t need to complete all questions, you can also email your proposals and suggestions to fireworks@gov.scot Include your full name and address and whether you give permission for your response to be public and for you to be contacted in future.

#ZoosAreJails

Protest at Edinburgh zoo.

We would like to thank everybody for their toots of support, and the people who vowed never again to visit this or any other zoo after seeing the plight of animals inside.

Bill to end live exports now on it’s way

 

The Bill which will, if passed, ban live exports is now making it’s way through parliament.

 

Part 3, 42 of Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill will prohibit the export of live animals for fattening or slaughter from Britain.

 

It’s concerning to note however that the door for exports from Northern Ireland appears to still be open, as is that for animals exported for breeding.

 

While we believe these issues must be addressed, this Bill is a huge leap forward, and the result of one of the biggest battles in the history of the UK animal rights movement. A battle which cost activist Jill Phipps her life.

 

Legislation will cover Scotland, which removes the ability of the Scottish Government to resume live exports by choosing not to follow other UK nations in implementing a ban. This will close a loophole which has caused us great concern for some time.

 

We must keep in mind that there are a significant number of SNP and Conservative MPs (including leader Douglas Ross) representing Scottish constituencies who do not support a ban, and have the ability to disrupt attempts to bring an end to the trade should they have the inclination.

 

If your MP opposes a ban, please let them know that if they attempt to obstruct this initiative it won’t be forgotten.

 

 

 

New Chief Scientific Adviser’s connections to meat industry a cause for concern

Scotland for Animals are concerned by the appointment of an individual with extensive connections to the meat and salmon farming industries to the position of Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland.

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick was appointed to the board of Quality Meat Scotland in 2014, and is CEO of the Moredun Group and Scientific panel member of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, both of which work closely with the fish farming sector.

With a spotlight on the meat trade’s detrimental impact on public health, and it’s potential to cause catastrophic pandemics, the safety of appointing anyone with this background as a scientific adviser to lawmakers is highly questionable.

The appointment also raises further concerns regarding those with deep links to the animal exploitation industry being embedded in government, and their potential to steer policy in this industry’s favour.

SfA call for a complete separation of government and the meat, dairy, egg and “seafood” industry as a step towards creating a safe nation for non-humans.

 

 

Plans for Wallyford stadium officially binned

Plans for the new greyhound racing stadium at Wallyford near Edinburgh have now been officially scrapped.
 
In a sad twist however, it’s been reported that the site may be taken over by a butcher firm for meat processing.
 
Scotland for Animals would like to thank you, our supporters, for answering calls to action over the past 5 years, attending demo’s and for getting behind the greyhound groups united to stop “businessman” Howard Wallace in his tracks.
 
And they did. Literally.
 
We also believe special mention must go to Amanda, Davie and the activists from Greyhound Action Scotland who started the fightback against Wallace’s plans in 2001. We remember the great personal risk at which they put themselves to defend dogs.
 
Always keep in mind the difference you can make. Never give up.
 
 
 
 

UK death toll, December 2020

 
87 million, 615 thousand+ animals slaughtered


225 thousand+ cattle
 
1 million, 321 thousand+ sheep
 
969 thousand+ pigs
 
85 million, 100 thousand+ “poultry” birds
 
 
Does not include other species such as deer, goats, horses, “game birds”, aquatic animals or animals exported for killing.
 
*Source; UK Government