The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has launched a pre-legislative inquiry into the Government’s recently published Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill. The Bill makes provisions to reflect animal sentience in domestic law and increase animal cruelty sentences to a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.
Views are sought by 17th January 2018. In particular, the Committee would like to receive views on the following:
- The Bill requires Ministers to have “regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings in formulating and implementing government policy”. In discharging that duty the draft Bill also states that Ministers of the Crown must “also have regard to matters affecting the public interest.” The Committee is interested in views on any potential conflict that may arise in discharging these two duties.
- The draft Bill does not explicitly define a number of terms, such as, ‘sentience’, ‘animal’, and ‘welfare needs of animals’. Do you consider definitions are required for these terms and, if you do so, what definitions should be used?
- The draft Bill proposes to increase the maximum penalty for the specified animal welfare offences from six months to five years’ imprisonment under Section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Committee would like to hear views on the proposed new maximum sentence.
To find out more about the terms of reference of the inquiry visit: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2017/draft-animal-welfar-bill-17-19/.
To submit a response visit: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/draft-animal-welfare-bill-17-19/.
Don’t forget you can also submit a response to the Government’s consultation on the Bill here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-animal-welfare-sentencing-and-recognition-of-sentience-bill-2017.