Scott Mann has welcomed the recent defeat in Parliament of a Green Party amendment on animals being classed as ‘sentient beings’. He defended his vote by saying that the defeat will eventually strengthen animal welfare standards after Brexit.
The North Cornwall MP claims that the UK currently has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and after Britain leaves the EU, it will have the ability to strengthen these standards further.
A Green Party amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill was voted down by a majority of MPs which would have classed animals as ‘sentient beings’, as is currently the case in the Lisbon Treaty.
Following the vote, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“This Government is committed to the very highest standards of animal welfare. As the Prime Minister has set out, we will make the United Kingdom a world leader in the care and protection of animals.
“It has been suggested that the vote last week on New Clause 30 of the EU Withdrawal Bill somehow signalled a weakening in the protection of animals – that is wrong. Voting against the amendment was not a vote against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain – that is a misconception”
And today Scott Mann has stepped into the fray, saying
“The UK was the first country in the world to implement laws protecting animals, and the government has publicly stated that animals are living sentient beings. I share its continuing commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare and there is absolutely no debate over whether an animal feels pain.
“We already have the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in place, which makes it an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal, we did not need to transfer the “sentient being” part of EU legislation into UK legislation. The Act also contains a duty of care, which means that anyone responsible for an animal must take responsible steps to make sure its needs are met. Therefore, the amendment by Caroline Lucas to the EU Withdrawal Bill was not necessary.
“The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, yet the EU protocol on sentient beings still allows bullfighting, veal farming, foie gras and live animal exports, and Brexit will allow us to strengthen them further”
The Conservative MP, elected for the first time in 2015 and then again at this year’s general election with an increased majority, claimed that the Tory government was doing loads for the protection of animals.
“In recent weeks, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to ban ivory sales to help bring an end to the ivory trade and elephant poaching, mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses and plans to increase sentencing for animal cruelty to 5 years, stronger sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty, bans on plastic microbeads to protect our oceans and seas, and restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in order to protect bees.
“Animal welfare is an absolute priority for the Government and an area which I care deeply about.”