Animals Set To Be Legally Recognized As ‘Sentient Beings’ In UK With Slate Of Imminent Welfare Measures

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Matthew Wearp Contributor
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Animals are set to be legally recognized as sentient beings in the United Kingdom as the government begins to roll out a series of animal welfare measures aimed at giving animals more protection.

The government announced May 12 that they will add the measures as a series of bills, including a measure to recognize animals as sentient beings, and will also include protections for farm animals and pets in the U.K. as well as cracking down on live animal exports, The Guardian reported. 

“We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws,” said George Eustice, the U.K.’s environment secretary, according to The Guardian. (RELATED: Trillions Of These Giant Red-Eyed Crunchy Bugs Buried Beneath The Earth’s Surface Are Set To Emerge)

“Our action plan for animal welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets, and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling. As an independent nation, we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”

“Now that we have left the EU, the UK has new freedoms to further strengthen animal welfare standards and reinforce its position as a global champion of animal rights,” the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said in a press release.

The department also stated in the release that the new bills will “build on our existing world leading standards by recognizing animals as sentient in law and committing to a range of new game changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.”

According to the press release, the action plan for animal welfare will include measures to ban the import of hunting trophies, introduce mandatory microchipping for cats, ban remote-controlled electric dog collars, and end the sale of ivory and shark fins. (RELATED: Hawk Refuses To Leave Woman’s Arm After She Saves It From Drowning)

“These announcements will make a real and lasting difference to animals’ welfare, so we’re pleased the Government is committed to improving animals’ lives in the UK and abroad. We can no longer ignore the inextricable link that exists between the way we treat animals, our own health, and that of the planet,” said Chris Sherwood, a chief executive at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.